How to Do the Heimlich Maneuver on a Child

I’m posting this today because yesterday I had one of the most horrifying experiences of my life.  We were at Costco and my 5 year old was eating a hot dog in the shopping cart when he started making a choking sound.  I stopped the cart immediately and asked him if he was ok.  He did not respond.  He put his hand up to his neck signifying that he was choking (I believe this is a natural response).  He could not cough as the hot dog was lodged.  I didn’t know what to do initially and started to look around, but no one noticed our struggle.  I had to take action.  I have had first aid training several times over my lifetime, but it was a long time ago and I was trying to recall how to do the Heimlich maneuver.  I quickly went to his back and side and  started thrusting up under his ribcage while he was still in the cart, but I couldn’t get enough leverage and he was still choking violently.  I didn’t know what to do.  Now I know, YOU CAN NOT EFFECTIVELY DO THE HEIMLICH WITH A SITTING CHILD.  Have them stand or hold them if they are an infant!!!!

Another mom quickly came to my rescue and told me she had done the Heimlich on several of her children and she asked if I would allow her to do it on my son?  I gave my permission and she grabbed him out of the cart and thrusted once very hard and the hot dog came out of his throat.  This mom saved my son’s life and had she not been there the outcome could have been, no would have been, catastrophic for our family.  If not for her, we would have been planning a funeral today.

I hope our readers will take the time to learn how to do the Heimlich Maneuver on a child.  Even if you never need to actually do it on your child, you never know when you might need to help someone else like this Mom did for me.  Let me point out that I am not a doctor or first aid professional so please consult a professional before trying out these techniques.

Watch this video and familiarize yourself again with the Heimlich maneuver



Now, looking back on what happened yesterday, I would have done something different.  I would have had someone call 9-1-1 and I would have yelled for help.  In emergency situations you never know how you are going to act.  If you will panic, or take action.  So, decide before hand the steps you will take if your child chokes.  It may save his life!

After the choking, both him and I were in shock.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but he was not responding much and I was emotional and very spacey.  All I could think about was putting one foot in front of the other and just getting out of the store and home.  It’s probably a good idea to take some time after an incident like this to sit down and just get your senses back in order.

I hope this information will help you be calm and proactive if you see a child choking.  I hope it never happens to you, but if it does, you will know what to do.



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