Chok­ing is a result of an obstruc­tion of the air­way. If the child is cry­ing, cough­ing or talk­ing, this is an indi­ca­tion that some air is get­ting through. Sim­ply observe the child as he or she is the best one to clear the obstruc­tion. Relief of air­way obstruc­tion should only be attempt­ed if it no longer seems as if the child is mov­ing any air. For­eign-body air­way obstruc­tion should be sus­pect­ed in infants and chil­dren who devel­op sud­den dif­fi­cul­ty breath­ing, espe­cial­ly when asso­ci­at­ed with cough­ing, gag­ging, wheez­ing or a high-pitched noisy sound when inhal­ing. If you have been trained in CPR, you may attempt to dis­lodge the object from the air­way – oth­er­wise call 911 immediately.

In con­di­tions where your child has swal­lowed an object and is cough­ing but is unable to talk allow the child to try to cough out the object on his own; also call 911 immediately.

If a child swal­lows an object, but shows no signs of chok­ing, cough­ing or pain with swal­low­ing, rest assured that most objects will pass through the intestines and be elim­i­nat­ed in the stool. How­ev­er, com­mon­ly swal­lowed objects should be kept out of a young child’s reach, includ­ing coins, plants bal­loons, small toys and foods like peanuts, hot dogs and pop­corn. Some objects may be tox­ic or become lodged, such as small bat­ter­ies, open safe­ty pins and coins quar­ter-sized or larger.

If the child has per­sis­tent cough­ing, wheez­ing or pain with swal­low­ing call your physician’s office imme­di­ate­ly. It is strong­ly rec­om­mend­ed that all par­ents learn CPR, ask your pediatrician’s office for a sched­ule of class­es offered in the area.