First aid class in NYC (or other resources) for infant choking?
August 31, 2017 2:00 AM   Subscribe

How can I best learn how to respond to a choking baby or toddler? The baby CPR class we took only gave it about five minutes' coverage.

We took a 2-hr infant CPR class when our baby was born, but apart from obviously having forgotten everything that happened in those extremely sleep-deprived weeks, the tutor focused almost entirely on CPR for already unconscious/unresponsive infants. What to do in immediate response to a choking incident got only a few minutes at the end.

I'd love to learn, once and for all, how best to recognize and respond to choking. We're in NYC, baby is currently nine months old. Have you taken a class that fits the bill, or read or watched something else that goes one step beyond just being told "do back blows"? Thanks for any suggestions.
posted by oliverburkeman to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You can probably sign up for a Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) course from the American Heart Association, but I wonder if that would be overkill because it's actually for healthcare providers to do CPR on children. But... honestly, the general approach to doing CPR for an infant is to do back blows, so it doesn't seem like what you've learned is too far off!
posted by gemutlichkeit at 4:32 AM on August 31, 2017

There isn't a lot more to say - back blows, chest thrusts and then moving to CPR as necessary. Did you practice on a baby mannequin? That is the only thing I would add as the back blows and chest thrusts have to be surprisingly hard.
posted by kadia_a at 5:36 AM on August 31, 2017

CPR certified, and I was taught that the most effective way for a choking infant (under 1 year) is back blows.

I mean unless they are choking of a long piece of something that you can easy fish out. Also you shouldn't perform back blows if the infant is coughing or crying loudly which may dislodge the object. Only try to dislodge an object yourself if you can see it.

For back blows you'll want to make sure your infant is face down, braced by your forearm and her/his head is lower than the rest of the body. Support the chest with your palm and jaw with your fingers and then provide 5 blows with your free hand between the shoulder blades.

If that doesn't dislodge the object, that is when you have to start chest compressions in rotation with back blows until the object becomes dislodged or the baby becomes unresponsive. If the baby becomes unresponsive then you need to call 911 and start infant cpr with chest compressions and rescue breathing.

In any of these cases, you will probably want to take your infant to the doctor afterward. Even though back blows and cpr can save a life, people can still get beaten up pretty bad from the maneuvers and need to make sure they haven't sustained damage.
posted by donut_princess at 5:37 AM on August 31, 2017

We did the Little Hearts CPR class in midtown and I think it would fit the bill. The instructor, Amy, covered the usual CPR practice but then spent the rest of the time discussing choking and other general safety stuff like burns and falls. She was really thorough and answered everyone's questions.

Her manner was a little...wacky, but we found her funny and engaging.
posted by cpatterson at 6:25 AM on August 31, 2017

We also used Amy at Little Hearts. She'll come to you if the location is inconvenient; we had her do a private class for us as well as our nanny.
posted by snickerdoodle at 9:15 AM on August 31, 2017

Thanks, everyone. I guess the reason it only got five minutes was that there's only five minutes of things to say! Even so, I feel like we practiced the CPR routine until I really knew what I was doing, and this certainly wasn't the case with back blows, so I'll definitely be looking into Little Hearts.
posted by oliverburkeman at 2:14 AM on September 3, 2017

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