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Back blows

Back blows

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Back blows are a form of first aid used to treat choking in infants and young children. The procedure is performed by placing the baby or child face down over an adult's lap or arm, supporting the child's head and neck. The adult then delivers five back blows with the heel of their hand between the infant's shoulder blades.

The American Red Cross recommends back blows as a first-aid response for choking infants and young children instead of abdominal thrusts, typically used to treat choking in older children and adults. Back blows should only be used on infants under the age of one and young children. It is not an effective technique for treating choking in older children or adults.

When delivering back blows, an adult should place the baby or child face down across their lap or arm, supporting the baby or child's head and neck. The adult should then deliver five back blows with the heel of their hand between the infant's shoulder blades. It is important to note that back blows should only be used if the infant or child is conscious and coughing but unable to expel the object blocking their airway. If the infant or child is not breathing and is unresponsive, the adult should call 911 and begin CPR.

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References

  • American Red Cross. (n.d.). Choking in Infants and Children. Retrieved from https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/first-aid/choking-infants-children.html
  • Mayo Clinic. (2019). First aid: Choking in infants. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid/first-aid-choking-infants/basics/art-20056639