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Treat a Conscious Choking Adult or Child

A choking victim can't breathe, which deprives the brain of precious oxygen. Using the following technique could save a life

1. Look for signs of choking: clutching the throat with the hands; a high-pitched wheezing sound; no speaking, forceful coughing or breathing. (Image 1)
2. Make sure the choking person is standing.
3. Position yourself behind the choking person. (Image 2)
4. Reach around the choking person with both hands, as if giving him or her a bear hug from behind. (Image 3)
5. Make a fist with one hand, placing the thumb side just above the navel of the choking person. (Image 4)
6. Grasp this hand with the other hand.
7. Thrust your hands inward and upward with a quick motion. (Image 5)
8. Continue thrusts in rapid succession until the object is dislodged and the person can breathe again.

  • If the person is coughing, he or she is still getting air. Encourage him or her to keep coughing in order to dislodge whatever is threatening to obstruct the airway


  • "Child," for these purposes, refers to people from approximately age 1 to approximately age 8, depending on speed of development.
  • If the choking person falls unconscious, check visually for the obstructing object and sweep it out. If you can't find or remove the object, treat for unconscious choking.

    Overall Warnings:

  • This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment

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