How to respond to a choking infant -
under 1 year

If this is an emergency, please call 000 immediately.

What is choking?

If the patient becomes blue, limp or unconscious, follow DRSABCD and call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.

Choking occurs when something gets stuck in, and blocks, a person's throat or windpipe.

This guide is regularly updated and aligns with the current edition of Australian First Aid (4th edition, 7/2011)

Signs and Symptoms

      • Clutching the throat
      • Coughing, wheezing, gagging
      • Difficulty in breathing, speaking or swallowing
      • Making a whistling or ‘crowing’ noise, or no sound at all
      • Blue lips, face, earlobes, fingernails
      • Loss of consciousness

What to do

Immediately call triple zero (000) for an ambulance. Stay on the phone.

  

Place the infant with their head downwards on your forearm, supporting the head and shoulders on your hand.

Hold the infant’s mouth open with your fingers.

 

Give up to 5 sharp blows to the back between the shoulders with the heel of one hand, checking if the blockage has been removed after each blow.

If the blockage has come loose or been removed, turn the infant into the recovery position and remove any object that may have come loose with your little finger.

If the blockage has not been removed after 5 back blows, place the infant on their back on a firm surface.

Place 2 fingers on the lower half of the sternum and give up to 5 chest thrusts, checking if the blockage has been removed after each thrust. Support the infant’s head with the other hand.

If the blockage has not been removed after 5 thrusts, continue alternating 5 back blows with 5 chest thrusts until medical aid arrives.

If the infant becomes unconscious, start CPR.

Resources

Choking infant fact sheet

DRSABCD action plan

Related advice

Choking Adult/Child

Learn more about the signs and symptoms of choking, and what to do in a situation where an adult or child is choking.

DRSABCD Action Plan

The St John DRSABCD Action Plan is crucial in assessing whether a patient has any life-threatening conditions and if any immediate first aid is necessary.

Shock

Any health condition or trauma can cause shock, and it is a life-threatening condition. It’s important to treat the injury or illness causing the shock, as well as the shock itself.

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