Heimlich maneuver is the name given to abdominal thrusts performed on an individual, under his diaphragm. The main aim of giving the thrusts is to help a person, who is choking on a foreign object, clear his airway. Through the thrusts, a person lifts the diaphragm of the ailing individual and forces out air from his lungs. The result is an artificial cough, which moves out the foreign particle from the airway. Heimlich maneuver is used in case of both adults and children. However, in the latter case, the person who is giving it has to be very gentle.
How to Perform the Heimlich Maneuver on Babies & Infants
- First of all, open the mouth of the baby and peek inside to check whether you can see the object that is causing the choking. If you can see it, put your finger inside his mouth and try to sweep out the object.
- If you cannot see the object leading to choking, it will be the best to move ahead with the Heimlich maneuver.
- Make the baby lie on his back, on a table or any other hard surface. The other option is to make him sit on your lap, facing away from you.
- If you go for the first option, stand or in front of the infant. Otherwise, support his body with your thigh.
- Place the first and middle finger of your left hand above the baby's navel, the distance should be around one finger's.
- Place your right hand on your left wrist and give gentle, but firm, upward thrusts to the baby's upper abdomen.
- Repeat atleast 5-6 times. If the baby starts coughing or crying, it means that his airway is getting cleared.
- After the foreign object comes out of the airway, make your baby lie down and seek further medical help.
- Make sure to apply the Heimlich maneuver on a baby very gently. Otherwise, you might end up hurting him.
- If the baby is coughing hard, wait for a few seconds before giving the Heimlich maneuver. It might be possible that he expels the object himself.
- If the baby loses consciousness while giving the maneuver, abort it and begin CPR.