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How To Save A Child From Choking – Medical Expert Tells Parents, Guardians




On the 24th of April 2024, a tragic and unexpected accident led to the death of a four year old student of BrickHall Schools located in the Cadastral Zone B11, Kaura in Abuja.

The child, identified as Miguel Ovoke was dropped off at school healthy and bubbling with life.

Unfortunately when his parents saw him again, he was lifeless.

What happened To Young Miguel


Miguel had allegedly died during feeding hours in school, he had reportedly choked on his meat while eating.

He was rushed to the hospital but, unfortunately, the little one could not be revived.

According to his death certificate dated April 24, 2024, issued by Excel Specialist Hospital, Abuja, Miguel was brought to the hospital by his teachers around 11 am in an unconscious state.


The medical report, signed by Dr. Akinwande Ajayi, on behalf of the medical director, indicated that he was brought in, “on account of aspiration on meat while feeding at school.”

What happened to young Miguel is quite tragic and perhaps could have been avoided if those around him were better equipped on how to avoid such a dire situation.

This article is meant to serve as an informative piece to parents, guardians, caregivers and teachers or anyone else out there who might at one time or the other have a child in their care.


According to Wikipedia, choking, also known as foreign body airway obstruction (FBAO), is a phenomenon that occurs when breathing is impeded by a blockage inside of the respiratory tract.

An obstruction that prevents oxygen from entering the lungs results in oxygen deprivation. Although oxygen stored in the blood and lungs can keep a person alive for several minutes after breathing stops.

Choking often leads to death.

According to statistics conducted by, Choking is a leading cause of death in children (one child every 5 days.).

Naija News, in a bid to get an expert opinion on the phenomenon reached out to a licensed nurse, ORJI VIVIAN A (RN, RM, BNSc), practicing in one of the top hospitals in Lagos State.

In this short interview, Orji has shared her medical expertise with Naija News on choking.

What are the signs to look out for when a child is choking?

A child who is choking stops chewing or swallowing. Stop what he or she is doing and start gasping. They might start stretching their hand to beckon for help.

“The color of the child might turn bluish, this indicates that oxygen has been deprived from the blood system.”

What kind of first aid would you suggest for choking?

“If we are going by age range. For a child less than one year, they are small so if you notice choking in a small baby( this occurs mostly in newborn) take the child from wherever the child is, maybe from the bed, it might not be that they are eating at that moment. The babies might have regurgitated.

“Pick the child from wherever, calmly sit down on a comfortable seat. Place the child on your thighs, put your left hand on the babies chest around the breast area that’s on the baby’s chest, use your left hand to support the chest toward the neck.

“Then move the baby’s head downward. Let the baby’s head be lower than the body trunk, then use the heel of your hand to deliver five blows on your baby’s back in between the shoulder blades.

“While the baby is still on your left hand turn with the right hand to see if whatever what was choking the baby has dislodged, if not repeat the process. If the baby becomes unconscious call for emergency help.

“Then for children older than 1 when you notice choking, you stand behind the child. Hold the child as if you want to embrace him from behind. With your left hand make a fist, put it just beneath the chest bone.

“Use the right hand to wrap up the left hand that you have used to make a fist then deliver five thrust upwards. Continue the process until the child or the adult is able to deliver the item that is choking him or her.

“This procedure is called Heimlich maneuver.

“If the person goes unconscious call for emergency help or maybe ambulance. For Lagos State we have 112 or 767.

“Because the person might have developed other medical conditions.

“On no account should a child that is choking be induced to vomit or you put your fingers inside to bring out the item that is choking the child. So you don’t put your hand, you only do that maneuver, pressing under the chest bone to make the person dislodge the item choking the person. Then you repeat it until it is settled.”

What advice would you give to parents of young children on how to prevent choking

“I will give an instance, some years ago a colleague’s child was with a neighbour and she gave the child lollipop.

“The child swallowed the sweet with the stick. Before the mother’s arrival the child was gone.

“So I don’t encourage parents to buy lollipop for their children.

“Let us always discourage it.

“When preparing children meals cut into pieces. When giving meat cut them into little pieces so they can pick it and eat.

“Some children don’t chew. So even when they swallow directly without chewing it may not cause any harm.

“Also encourage your children to chew slowly and thoroughly. Teach them table manners, take little quantity of food at a time, do not talk, do not laugh so that you won’t choke.

“For Adults do not take alcohol before or during meals.

“What can also cause choking especially in school environment, if you notice some schools do not allow children to come to school with braided hair that have beads on them.

“Some children can fancy it and before you know it, it is in their nose or in their mouth.

“I tell my children nylon is not a toy. When you buy something from a grocery shop and dismantle it dispose the nylon appropriately. Don’t hold on to them because of the cartoon character on them.

“Teachers should be taught to always give attention to children especially when they are eating.

“In emergency situation they should also give numbers they can reach out to. For instance in my children school If you are filling form they ask that in case of emergency what hospital should we take the children to. If you don’t provide anything they will tell you that they will take the child to the hospital and the bills will be on you.

“So they should have hospitals they can take the child to when emergencies care can be rendered.

“Also avoid forceful feeding.

“A friend of mine lost one of her twins because her nanny was force feeding an 8 months old child and before they could report to the hospital the girl was already a corpse. So avoid force feeding too.”

Can CPR be performed on a choking patient that has lost consciousness

Cardio pulmonary resuscitation can be established. You continue until the medical care arrive immediately you notice such you place the person either on a firm bed or on the floor. If it is on the floor you will need to kneel down on the head side then make a fist.

“Use the heel of your hand with the other one on top of it while applying the CPR and waiting for the ambulance.

“Ambulance may not have health professionals but there are paramedical among them that might be trained to handle emergency situation until they get advanced care.

“So CPR is very very important and everyone has to be trained. A mother, father even you from Naija News can be trained in case of any situation and save a life. We have lost so many lives because people are not trained. Like someone that was just buried yesterday if CPR was established when he was brought out from the river I don’t think he would have gone painfully like that”