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Choking - infant under 1 year

  • Definition

    Choking is when an infant can't breathe because food, a toy, or other object is blocking the airway (throat or windpipe).


    A choking infant's airway may be completely or partially blocked. A complete blockage is a medical emergency. A partial obstruction can quickly become life threatening if the infant loses the ability to breathe in and out sufficiently.

    Without oxygen, permanent brain damage can occur in as little as 4 minutes. Rapid first aid for choking can save a life.


    Choking in infants is usually caused by inhaling a small object that they have placed in their mouth, such as a button, coin, balloon, toy part, or watch battery.