Photo Credit: Bradley Gordon
Choking hazard.

A United Hatzalah mobile intensive care ambulance team responded to a medical emergency that took place in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Geulah Tuesday evening after a one-year-old infant choked on some stickers he had swallowed.

United Hatzalah volunteer EMT and driver of the ambulance Ariel Ben David reported: “When we arrived at the scene we found an infant who was in serious respiratory distress. We were told that he had choked. Thankfully, Paramedic Ariel Shussheim was able to extract from the baby’s throat several stickers from a game that the baby had accidentally swallowed. After he was out of danger and in stable condition, we transported him in our mobile intensive care ambulance to Hadassah Mt. Scopus hospital where he underwent follow-up care.”


Back in 2019, Nurse Practitioner Cami Kesler offered tips to parents whose baby was choking (Valuable tips to help you aid in an infant choking situation):


  • It’s important to understand that education is powerful. One U.S. child chokes to death approximately every five days; and 75% of choking deaths occur in children under the age of 3, making choking a leading cause of death in infants and toddlers. Small children have narrower airways, immature dentition, underdeveloped chewing and swallowing ability, and high levels of activity and destructibility.
  • Be alert for small objects that can cause choking, such as coins, buttons, balloons, and small toys. Check under furniture and between cushions for small items that children could find and put in their mouths.
  • Before you give your baby something to eat or play with, check its size, shape, and consistency. Food accounts for more than 50% of choking episodes. Hard candy, hot dogs, and bones are among the leading causes of choking in babies. Just because it’s soft doesn’t mean it’s safe (as in grapes). Avoid popcorn, raw veggies, gum, nuts, meats with bones, and chunks of peanut butter.
  • Educate older siblings, cousins, and friends who offer food or toys to your small child.


  • When an object becomes lodged in the child’s airway, oxygen is kept from reaching the lungs and the rest of the body. When the brain does not receive oxygen for more than four minutes, permanent brain damage and death can result.

3. S.I.N.G.

  • STAY calm – Your staying calm helps your child remain calm.
  • INSPECT – If your child is having some breathing difficulties, but is able to speak, cry, or has a strong cough, don’t do anything, the child’s cough is better than any back blows or the Heimlich maneuver.
  • NEVER stick your fingers – Performing a blind finger sweep through the baby’s mouth can create a bigger problem by pushing the foreign body further down the back of the throat. Look only, and if you can see the object on the tongue remove it. Otherwise, proceed with your next step.
  • GIVE first aid, but only if the child has a weak cough, loss of color, or inability to breathe; if the child can’t talk, cough, or make normal voice sounds.


  • If the child is unconscious, call emergency services and initiate CPR.
  • Choking infants who are conscious and responsive can be treated with a combination of back blows and chest thrusts.
  • Apply firm back blows with the heel of one hand between the infant’s shoulder blades. Keep the head and neck secure when giving back blows and chest thrusts. Keep the head lower than the chest.
  • Place 2 to 3 fingers in the center of the infant’s chest just below the nipple line and compress the breastbone about 1 ½ inch. Continue until the object is forced out, the infant can cough forcefully, cry, or breathe.
  • Again, if at any time, the infant becomes unconscious, call emergency services and start CPR.

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