Health Tip: Performing the Heimlich Maneuver

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(HealthDay News) -- Choking is the 4th-leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States, the National Safety Council says.

The Heimlich maneuver is an effective way to help a person who is choking, but is not recommended for children under age 1.

Here are the agency's suggestions for performing the Heimlich maneuver:

  • Stand behind the choking victim with one leg forward between the victim's legs.
  • For a child, move down to the child's level and keep your head to one side.
  • Reach around the abdomen and locate the navel.
  • Place the thumb side of your fist against the abdomen just above the navel.
  • Grasp your fist with your other hand and thrust inward and upward into the choking person's abdomen with quick jerks.
  • If the person is pregnant, or you cannot get your arms around the person, give chest thrusts from behind; avoid squeezing the ribs with your arms.
  • Continue thrusts until the victim expels the object or becomes unresponsive.
  • After choking stops, seek additional medical care immediately.

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