Step 1: Identify if the person is choking
You may see the person looking distressed and clutching at their neck/head. They may be red in the face initially.
If they can cough: Lean them forwards and encourage them to keep coughing in order to dislodge the object
If they can’t cough: If coughing is ineffective or they are unable to cough then procede to step 2
Step 2: Deliver five back blows
Lean the person forwards and deliver five back blows using the heel of your hand. Aim to hit the person in the middle of the back between the shoulder blades. Remember to support their front and warn them about what you are doing!
If this does not work then procede to step 3
Step 3: Deliver five abdominal thrusts
Stand behind the person. Make a fist with one hand and place this above their belly button. Using your other hand for strength, pull sharply inwards and upwards. The aim of this manoeuvre is to force air out of the lungs to dislodge the object. Repeat five times.
Step 4: Repeat this cycle of five back blows and five abdominal thrusts until help arrives
If the casualty collapses, you should treat them as being unconscious. See our pages on unconsciousness to learn how to perform CPR or place them in the recovery position.