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Choking Prevention and First Aid for Infants and Children

When children begin eating foods, parents must be aware of the dangers and risks of choking. Older infants and children under age four can easily choke on food and small objects.

Choking occurs when food or small objects block the airway. This prevents oxygen from getting to the lungs and the brain. When the brain goes without oxygen for more than four minutes, brain damage or even death may occur. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Heart Association (AHA) believe that parents and other caregivers can often prevent choking. The AAP and the AHA offer the following choking prevention and first aid information for parents and caregivers of infants and children.

Contact your local American Red Cross office or the American Heart Association to find out about classes offered in your area. Most of the classes last 6 to 8 hours and teach basic first aid, CPR, and emergency prevention along with what to do for a choking infant or child. Your pediatrician can also help you understand these steps and talk to you about the importance of supervising mealtime and identifying dangerous foods and objects.

The information contained in this publication should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

Information provided courtesy of the American Academy of Pediatrics

In This Section

Pediatric & Infant Care
Vaccinations