Babysitting: Dealing With Choking

Babysitting: Dealing With Choking

Choking can be a life-threatening emergency.

Kids might be choking if they:

What to Do

If you think a child is choking, ask the child if he or she is OK. If the child is able to breathe and talk while gagging or coughing, then the airway is not blocked. Keep an eye on the child if this happens — most likely, he or she is having a coughing attack and will be fine afterward.

If the child is conscious but can't cough, speak, or breathe:

If a child starts choking and becomes unconscious and stops breathing:

If a child had a serious choking attack and has difficulty breathing or speaking, call 911 immediately. After you call 911, call the child's parents.


Preventing choking is much easier than treating it. To help prevent choking:

And if you're not already trained in CPR, get trained. The lifesaving interventions you learn will help make you the best babysitter you can be.

Reviewed by: Rupal Christine Gupta, MD
Date reviewed: September 2014

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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Web SiteAmerican Red Cross Babysitter's Training Course Designed for 11- to 15-year-olds, the babysitter's training course can help you care for children and infants, make good decisions, solve problems, be a good leader, and more.
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