Heimlich Maneuver

You’re at a restaurant. Your friend clutches her throat — a piece of food is blocking her airway. She can’t speak -she can’t cough. She’s choking. Do you know what to do?

Your toddler finds a forgotten peanut behind the kitchen cabinet. He swallows it and it becomes lodged in his throat. He’s in distress but he can’t make a sound. Can you help him?

YES. By learning the Heimlich maneuver — a simple lifesaving technique — you may literally save the life of a choking victim.

The Basic Heimlich

Do not perform the Heimlich maneuver if the victim is coughing, speaking, or breathing. If the person cannot cough, speak, or breathe, proceed as follows:

1. Stand behind the victim and wrap your arms around his or her waist.

2. Clasp your hands together in a doubled fist and place the fist (thumb side in) just below the victim’s rib cage and above the navel.

3. Press into the victim’s abdomen (not the rib cage) with a quick, upward thrust. Repeat the thrusts until the object is dislodged.

Note on performing this maneuver on infants and toddlers up to one year of age:

  • Sit down to support the child with your thigh as you hold the child face down on your forearm.
  • Use the heel of your other hand to give four light and rapid blows between the shoulder blades.
  • If unsuccessful, turn the child on his or her back and put two fingers on the child’s breastbone just below the nipples.
  • Depress the chest 1 to 1 1/2 inches. Do this quickly four times.


Read Also: