Why We Should Never Slap A Choking Person On The Back? Tips How To Help A Choker

Date April 13, 2018

Have you ever slapped a person on the back when he/she choked? Or maybe someone else did the same to you? If you answered “Yes” to both questions, you might be surprised to find out that it is a very dangerous maneuver.


Specialists claim that it is strictly forbidden to slap a choker on the back, and here is the reason why.

Why we shouldn’t slap a choker on the back

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Choking happens when someone's airway suddenly gets blocked, either fully or partly, so they can't breathe. Everyone who chocked at least once in his/her life knows this scary feeling.

In this unpleasant situation, a choker needs someone able to give a helping hand. And what does another person mostly do when they come to the rescue? Well, he/she will probably slap a choker on the back, which is totally incorrect.

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Medical journals based on numerous studies and reports warn that slapping the back of a person choking on food may cause death by driving the object tighter into the airway. So, what should we do if someone is choking?

First aid in a choking emergency

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1. If you are alone and choking:

Try to cough and lean forward. If this doesn’t help, make several short exhalations while bending your torso.

2. If another person is choking, you need to use the Heimlich maneuver:

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  1. Stand behind a person. Support his/her chest with one hand.
  2. Lean the person forward so that the object blocking the airway will come out of the mouth.
  3. Place your arms around the person’s waist.
  4. Give five blows to the back with the heel of your hand.
  5. Check if the blockage has cleared. If not, repeat until the object is expelled and the person can breathe or cough on his/her own.

Important: Don't give abdominal thrusts to babies under one year old or to pregnant women!

You can watch how to perform the Heimlich maneuver in the video below.

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3. If a pregnant woman is choking:

Place your hand a little higher on a woman’s torso, around the base of her breastbone. If the woman is unconscious, place her on her back and try to clear the airway with your finger in a sweeping motion.


4. If an infant is choking:

  1. Sit down and lay an infant face down along your thighs, supporting his/her head with your hand.
  2. Give five back blows gently with the heel of your hand.
  3. If that doesn’t work, position the infant face up resting on your forearm. Place two fingers at the center of the breastbone and perform five quick chest compressions. Repeat until an object is expelled.

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These useful rules will help you provide emergency assistance if you or another person is choking. Don’t forget to share these tips with your family and friends because this information can save someone’s life.

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This post is solely for informational purposes. It is not intended to provide medical advice. Fabiosa doesn’t take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action, or application of medication, which results from reading or following the information contained in this post. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader should consult with their physician or other health care provider.