What Should You Do if Someone is Choking?

One of the most valuable skills that a first aider can learn is the treatment of choking. We think that choking is not that big of a deal in our daily life but when you see someone choking, has it ever occurred to you that it could end their life? Yes, it can lead to death.

Choking can happen to anyone anytime, anywhere. We must know how to prevent, recognise and respond to choking incidents as it could save someone’s life.

This blog will discuss what you can do to help a choking individual.

What is choking?

Choking occurs when a foreign object is lodged in the throat or windpipe, blocking the flow of air. Choking can cause a simple coughing fit, but complete blockage may lead to death.

What are the two types of choking?

It is vital to identify what kind of airway obstruction a person is suffering from, as this will inform the type of assistance required.

The two types of choking are:

  • Mild choking - If choking is mild, the casualty will be able to cough and answer ‘’yes’’ to your question.
  • Severe choking
  • Weakening cough
  • Unable to speak - May ‘nod’ in response to your question.
  • Struggling or unable to breathe.
  • Distressed look on their face.
  • Will become unconscious if untreated.

Once you have identified the type of airway obstruction a person has, you can respond accordingly.

How to administer back blows on adults or children over one year of age?

  • Instruct the casualty to cough
  • Instruct the casualty to cough. If the choking is mild, this will clear the obstruction, and they should be able to speak to you.

If the cough becomes ineffective:

  • Back blows
  • Shout for help, but don't leave the casualty yet.
  • Learn the casualty well forwards.
  • Give up to 5 sharp blows between the shoulder blades with the heel of your hand. The aim is to relieve the choking with each blow rather than give all 5.

If the obstruction is still not cleared:

  • Abdominal thrusts
  • Stand behind the casualty. Place both your arms around them.
  • Make a list with one hand and place it just above the belly button (below the ribs).
  • Grasp this list with your other hand, then pull sharply inwards and upwards. Do this up to 5 times. The aim is to relieve the choking with each thrust rather than give all 5.

If the obstruction is still not cleared:

  • Repeat back blows and the abdominal thrust
  • If the treatment seems ineffective, shout for help. Ask someone to call 999/112 for emergency help, but don’t interrupt the treatment while the casualty is still conscious.
  • If the casualty becomes unconscious, START CPR.

After successful treatment, seek immediate medical attention if the casualty has received abdominal thrusts and has difficulty swallowing. And has a persistent cough or feels like an object is still stuck in the throat'.

How to administer back blows on an infant under one year of age?

The baby may attempt to cough. If the choking is only mild, this will clear the obstruction - the baby may cry and should now be able to breathe effectively.

If the cough becomes ineffective:

  • Back blows
  • Sit or lay the baby over your lap, face down, head lowest, supporting the head.
  • Give up to 5 sharp blows between the shoulder blondes with the heel of your hand. The aim is to relieve the choking with each blow rather than give all 5.

If the obstruction is still not cleared:

  • Chest thrusts
  • Turn the baby's chest uppermost (lay them on your aim). Support the head and lower it below the level of the chest.
  • Use two fingers to give up to 5 chest thrusts. These are similar to chest compressions but sharper and delivered at a slower rate.
  • NEVER perform abdominal thrusts on a baby.
  • Repeat back blows and chest thrusts
  • If the treatment seems ineffective, shout for help. Ask someone to call 999/112 for emergency help, but don’t interrupt the treatment while the baby is still conscious.
  • If the baby becomes unconscious, START CPR.

How to prevent choking?

It is essential to take things slowly, especially when eating or drinking. Life is too precious to waste just by choking, so take note of these easy and simple ways to prevent choking.

You can prevent choking in adults by following these safety measures:

  • Cut your food into small pieces.
  • Chew your food slowly and thoroughly, especially if wearing dentures.
  • Avoid laughing and talking while chewing and swallowing.
  • Avoid excessive intake of alcohol before and during meals.

You can prevent choking in infants and children by following these safety measures:

  • Keep marbles, beads, coins, and other small toys.
  • Prevent children from walking, running, or playing when they have food and toys in their mouths.
  • Supervise mealtimes with young children.
  • Prevent older siblings from giving dangerous food or toys to a young child.

Where can I find online training courses and qualifications for choking?

The Mandatory Training Group is the leading UK provider of accredited statutory and mandatory training courses for all sectors, including health and social care, education, local government, private companies, charitable and third sector organisations.

Alternatively, you can contact our helpful Support Team byclicking hereto tell us more about your training courses and qualifications for choking.

Online training courses and qualifications for choking

What our clients say...

Frequently asked questions and answer about online training courses for choking

Here at The Mandatory Training Group, we receive many questions about the online training courses for choking. We have selected a few of these questions and answered them below.

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Still have some questions which you would like us to help you with?

Online Training Courses for Choking - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

What should you do if someone is choking? - The Mandatory Training Group UK.

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