What to do if someone is choking

What can you do to help if someone who is a lot taller than you is choking?

KUSA - A 42-year-old man died on April 2 after choking on a donut at Voodoo Doughnuts on East Colfax in Denver. Witnesses say two people who were inside the donut shop at the time rushed to help him, but couldn't perform the Heimlich maneuver, and no one was trained to do so. 

Some witnesses told 9NEWS there was a size difference between the victim and those around him.  We wanted to know -- what can you do to help if someone who is a lot taller than your or bigger than you is choking? 

The American Red Cross says there are several ways to approach the situation, their techniques are best described in this Facebook Live video.

Here's some information about choking from the Red Cross: 

Choking is a common breathing emergency.

  • Food is the cause for most of the choking incidents for children and adults.
  • Young children can also choke on small toys or parts of toys and other household items.
  • A person may be able to get enough air to cough forcefully – if so, encourage them to keep coughing.

A conscious person whose airway is completely blocked needs immediate care.

If a child or and adult cannot cough, speak or breathe:

o   Have someone call 911

o   Give five back blows – bend the person forward at the waist and give five back blows between the shoulder blades with the heel of one hand.

o   Give five abdominal thrusts – place a fist with the thumb side against the middle of the person’s abdomen, just above the navel. Cover your first with your other hand and give five quick upward abdominal thrusts.

o   Continue sets of five back blows and abdominal thrusts until the object is forced out or the person can cough forcefully or breathe.

 If an infant is choking:

o   Have someone call 911

o   Give five back blows – position the infant face down along your forearm. Give five back blows with the heel of your hand while supporting the arm that is holding the infant on your thigh.

o   Give five chest thrusts – Sandwich the infant between your forearms. Continue to support the infant’s head. Turn the infant onto his or her back keeping the infant’s head lower than the chest. Place two or three fingers in the center of the infant’s chest just below the nipple line and compress the breastbone about 1½ inches five times.

You can learn more about choking and other common first aid emergencies here.  

If you're interested in talking online or in-classroom courses, click here.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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