Heimlich Maneuver for Adults and Children (1-8 Years of Age)

When you choke, you can't speak or breathe and you need help immediately. Follow these steps to save yourself from choking:

graphic demonstrating the Heimlich Maneuver

  • Make a fist and place the thumb side of your fist against your upper abdomen, just above the naval and below the rib cage.
  • Grasp your fist with your other hand and press into your upper abdomen with a quick upward thrust.
  • Repeat until object is expelled.

Alternatively, you can lean over a fixed horizontal object (table edge, chair, railing) and press your upper abdomen against the edge to produce a quick upward thrust. Repeat until object is expelled.

Unconscious victim, or when a rescuer cannot reach around victim.

graphic demonstrating the Heimlich Maneuver

  • Place the victim on his/her back.
  • Perform CPR on the victim, checking the mouth each time you attempt to ventilate the victim to see if the object has been expelled.
  • If you see the object, remove it carefully.
  • Continue CPR until you observe a response from the victim or until help arrives. The victim should seek medical assistance immediately after rescue.

A choking victim can't speak or breathe and needs your help immediately. Call 9-1-1 and follow these steps to help a conscious choking victim:

  • Determine if the person can speak or cough.
  • If not, proceed to the next step.
  • Perform an abdominal thrust (Heimlich Maneuver) repeatedly until the object is expelled. From behind, wrap your arms around the victim's waist.
  • Make a fist and place the thumb side of your fist against the victim's upper abdomen, just above the naval and below the rib cage.
  • Grasp your fist with your other hand and press into their upper abdomen with a quick upward thrust. Do not squeeze the rib cage; confine the force of the thrust to your hands.graphic demonstrating the Heimlich Maneuver
  • A chest thrust may be used for obese persons or in late stages of pregnancy.
  • If the adult or child becomes unresponsive, call 9-1-1 and perform CPR. Check for an object in the mouth or throat prior to giving mouth to mouth ventilations. If you see the object in the throat or mouth, remove it carefully.