Neonatal nurse Barbara Whelan demonstrates what to do if an infant is unable to breathe.
If your baby is unable to breathe, cry or cough something maybe blocking baby’s airway and you will need to help your baby get it out.
Assess the situation fast, check baby’s mouth and remove any obvious obstructions.
If the baby is coughing or gagging the airway is only partially blocked, let baby continue to cough to dislodge a blockage.
If anyone is with you have them call an ambulance immediately, if alone, give baby two minutes of care then call an ambulance, if you suspect baby’s airway is closed off because baby’s throat has swollen shut call an ambulance immediately as your baby maybe having an allergic reaction.
Back blows and chest thrusts
Carefully position your baby face down with his chest and tummy on your forearm, your hand supporting his head and neck, rest the arm holding your baby on your thigh for support.
Hold your baby so that his head is lower than the rest of his body, using the heel of your hand give baby five firm back blows between his shoulder blades to try and dislodge the object. The combined gravity and back slaps should release the blocking object.
If your baby is still unable to breathe, turn him onto his back and give five chest thrusts.
Support your baby’s face with your forearm resting on your thigh, still keeping baby’s head lower than the rest of her body. Use two finger tips to push inward, just below the imaginary line running between your baby’s nipples. To give a chest thrust, push straight down on the chest ½ to 1 inch, then allow chest to come back to normal position. Check baby’s mouth after each thrust and remove any obstruction.
Continue the sequence of five back blows and five chest thrusts until the object is forced out or your baby starts to cough or medical help arrives.