The Heimlich Maneuver

The Heimlich maneuver is an emergency procedure for removing a foreign object lodged in a person’s airway.  This procedure, which was introduced in 1974 by Dr. Henry Heimlich, is now a standard part of all first aid courses.
Adults and Children Older Than One Year – Conscious

  • Stand behind the victim and encircle his/her waist with your arms.  Make a fist with one hand and place it, with your thumb toward the victim, below the rib cage and above the waist.  Place your other hand on top of the fist.
  • Press into the upper abdomen with sharp, quick thrusts
  • Repeat until object is cleared from airway

Adults and Children Older Than One Year – Unconscious

  • Lay the victim on his/her back on the floor and bend the chin forward
  • Kneel astride the victim’s thighs and place one of your hands on top of the other
  • Place the heel of your bottom hand on the upper abdomen of the victim below the rib cage and above the waist
  • Push inward and upward with quick thrusts
  • Repeat until object is cleared from airway

Children – Under One Year Old

  • Lay the infant on your forearm with the infant’s face pointed downward
  • Support the baby’s head with your hand and rest your forearm against your thigh
  • Use the heel of your other hand to give four or five rapid blows to the baby’s back between his/her shoulder blades
  • If airway is still blocked, turn the baby over on your thigh with his/her head pointing downward
  • Place two or three fingers on the center of the baby’s breastbone and make four or five upward thrusts
  • Keep alternating back blows and chest thrusts until object is dislodged

Self Applied Heimlich Maneuver

  • Make a fist and place it against your abdomen – below the rib cage and above the waist
  • Grasp your fist with your other hand and press into your abdomen with quick upward thrusts
  • If upward thrusts fail, try pressing your abdomen over the back of a chair, the edge of table, or a stair railing

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