If the child isn't able to cough up the object, ask someone to call 911 or the local emergency number as you begin back blows and abdominal thrusts (see step 2, below).
If you're alone with the child, give two minutes of care, then call 911.
On the other hand, if you suspect that the child's airway is closed because her throat has swollen shut, call 911 immediately.
To find a class in your area, visit the Red Cross website or call (800) 733-2767 (800-RED-CROSS).
The following instructions are for children ages 1 to 12.
We all hope we'll never be put in the position of having to save a child's life, but it could happen.
Children test their physical limits and get caught in all kinds of dangerous situations.
They choke on food, fall off bikes and play equipment, and wade into water unsupervised.
This step-by-step guide explains the basics of first aid for choking and CPR, but please don't rely on it as your sole source of information.
To find out what to do when a baby younger than 12 months is choking or needs CPR, see our illustrated guide to infant CPR. If a child is suddenly unable to cry, cough, or speak, something is probably blocking her airway, and you'll need to help her get it out.
She may make odd noises or no sound at all while opening her mouth. If she's coughing or gagging, it means her airway is only partially blocked. Coughing is the most effective way to dislodge a blockage.
Also call 911 right away if the child is at high risk for heart problems.
Set aside a few hours to take an infant and child CPR course to learn and practice the proper techniques.
These techniques differ depending on the age of the child, and doing them improperly can be harmful.