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Signals That Indicate an Infant Is Choking

The majority of choking incidents among infants are related to food or small objects. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns against giving infants hot dogs, seeds, nuts, meat or cheese chunks, whole grapes, hard or sticky candy, popcorn, peanut butter, raw vegetables and chewing gum. Baby-proofing your home to keep small objects -- including buttons, coins, pet food, hair accessories, marbles and paper clips -- out of your infant's reach helps keep him safe. An awareness of the signs that your baby is choking will enable you to respond promptly.

Skin Turning Blue

Discoloration of your infant's skin will give you a strong indication that she is choking. With the airway blocked, the lack of oxygen flow causes the skin, lips and nails to turn blue.

Lack of Audible Sounds

If your infant's facial expression indicates anxiety but he cannot cry or babble normally, he may be choking. A weak, ineffectual cough may also indicate that he is choking. If in doubt, check his mouth and airways just to be safe.

RELATED: The Best Ways to Relieve a Choking Infant

Unusual Breathing Pattern

If you suspect your infant is choking, check her breathing pattern. If her ribs and chest are pulling inward or you hear soft, high-pitched sounds as she inhales, treat her for choking immediately.

Loss of Consciousness

Choking may also result in the loss of consciousness. If this happens and you can see the blocking object, remove it with a finger sweep.

Rapid Response

At the first sign of choking, sit down and place your infant face down on your forearm as it rests on your thigh. With the heel of your hand, thump him firmly in the middle of the back five times to expel the object. If that fails, turn him over on your forearm so he is face up. Give five quick two-finger chest compressions. If this also fails, call 911 or ask another person to do so. Repeat the back thumps and chest thrusts until help arrives.

These measures are neither necessary nor recommended if your baby coughs forcefully, cries strongly and breathes deeply, the National Library of Medicine notes.

RELATED: The Most Common Causes of Home Accidents

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