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Treat an Unconscious 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

Initial Assessment


· Treat for unconscious choking under the following conditions: the choking person fell unconscious while you were treating for conscious choking, or breaths won't go in during rescue breathing even after you've re-tilted the head.


· "Child," for these purposes, refers to people from approximately age 1 to approximately age 8, depending on speed of development.

Treatment for Choking


1. Position the choking person on his or her back; if you suspect a spinal injury, be extremely careful not to move or twist the head, neck or spine. If several rescuers are present, use their assistance to minimize this danger.
2. Kneel down, straddling the choking person's legs and facing the choking person's abdomen. (Image 1)
3. Place the heel of one hand just above the navel. (Image 2)
4. Place the other hand over the first hand, interlacing the fingers of the two hands. (Image 3)
5. Straighten your arms.
6. Thrust inward and upward, using a quick motion. Give up to five thrusts in rapid succession.
7. Sweep out the mouth using the technique for an obstructed airway. For a child, attempt this only if you can see the obstructing object. (Image 4)
8. Tilt the head and give two slow breaths. If the breaths won't go in, re-tilt the head and give two more breaths. (Image 5)
9. Repeat the cycle of thrusts, mouth sweep, head tilt, breaths, head re-tilt and breaths until breaths go in, or until the person begins breathing on his or her own.
10. Check for pulse and breathing once breaths go in.
11. Provide CPR or rescue breathing as necessary


  • Use the weight and muscles of the upper body while giving thrusts. This will provide the most efficient thrusting power.
  • The best way to tell if breaths are going in is to watch the chest: If it rises gently, breaths are going in.

    Overall Warnings:

    If the injured person vomits, turn the person onto his or her side and wipe out the mouth. Return the person to the supine position and continue treatment.
    This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.

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