The fourth leading cause of unintentional injury is choking, which kills over 5,000 people a year.1 Quick response is key when during a choking incident, as time is critical.
When air cannot flow into the lungs, serious brain damage occurs quickly. Brain damage is unlikely within the first 4 minutes without air, but brain damage is possible at 4–6 minutes, probable at 6–10 minutes, and severe at 10-plus minutes.
How a choking incident is treated is different by age. It’s important for caregivers of young children and older adults to know what to do if the person in their care chokes. While this article is intended to be a resource for caregivers, it’s not a supplement for a certificate and training. The Red Cross is your best place to find up-to-date information.
Here’s a response guide for choking in babies, toddlers, older adults, adults, and yourself