Choking can happen at any time to any person. This is because it affects both people in the general population and people with swallowing difficulty. People with swallowing difficulty are at risk of choking on food or fluid, because of the problems they have in preparing food or fluid for the swallow, or in co-ordinating the swallow, or in co-ordinating breathing and swallowing. The general First Aid guidance for responding to a partial or a full blockage of the airway should be followed.
The following decision aid can help you make choices about what to do if someone you are with has an airway obstruction. Hover over each of the shapes to learn more about each step. You can enlarge the flow chart by clicking on the double ended arrow in the bottom right-hand corner of the diagram.
Guidance for responding to choking incidents
Based on the Foreign Body Airway Obstruction (Choking) guidelines, Australian Resuscitation Council (2016).
The following resources provide more information on mealtime safety and responding to choking.
Signs and Symptoms of Swallowing Difficulty
Responding to Choking
Documenting Mealtime Assistance Difficulties and Choking Incidents
Making a Referral for a Person with Swallowing Difficulty
Tips for Oral Hygiene and Dental Care