The Heimlich maneuver is a life-saving technique used for choking incidences. Luckily, it is not difficult to save the life of a choking individual using the Heimlich maneuver. One does not have to be a healthcare professional to perform the technique. The maneuver has a high success rate in both adults and children.
Steps in performing the Heimlich maneuver
The Heimlich maneuver is a simple life-saving measure that anyone can perform. You have to be familiar with the basic steps.
- Stand behind the choking individual. Create a fist and position the thumb side against the upper abdomen of the individual, above the navel and beneath the ribcage.
- Place the other hand over the fist and perform rapid upward thrusts to press into the abdomen of the individual.
- Repeat the process as needed until the foreign object is expelled.
An individual can also perform the procedure on himself/herself. Simply position the thumb side of the fist above the navel and beneath the rib cage. Wrap the other hand around it and thrust quickly upwards and repeatedly.
For additional strength, the individual can also bend over a table, chair or counter at waist level. Place a fist against the chest, wrap the other hand around it and lean over the edge to place increased pressure on the area where the fist meets with the chest until the object is expelled.
Pregnant women and overweight persons
The Heimlich maneuver is performed in a slightly different manner among pregnant women or a weighty individual. In both circumstances, position your fist slightly higher, around the breastbone where the ribs connect.
Children over 1-year-old and infants
As for children over 1-year-old, the process is similar to adults. You have to kneel down for smaller children and you have to position the fist just above the belly button of the child. Do not send as much force to a child as you normally do to an adult. In addition, do not shove hard enough to raise the child off his/her feet.
For infants younger than a year old, position the baby face-up on a flat surface. Position 2 fingers in the middle of the breastbone right below the nipple and deliver a series of 5 rapid thrusts.
More Information / Disclaimer
The information posted on this page on the Heimlich maneuver is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize if an individual is choking and how to perform the Heimlich maneuver by taking a first aid course with Victoria First Aid here.