What to do if a baby is choking
- November 11, 2020
- Lisa Goldberg
- Child Safety Tips
It can be very scary when a baby starts to chock. Choking occurs when there is an obstruction in their throat or airway. Elements that can contribute to choking include liquids and small objects such as toys, household items and even food.
Babies and young children are at high risk of choking because they:
- Have less practice controlling food in their mouths
- Do not always chew their food into small pieces
- Have small airways
- Putt small objects into their mouths
Signs & symptoms of choking:
This may vary according to the severity of the obstruction and the object.
- Clutching at the throat
- Intense coughing
- Unable to speak, breathe, swallow or cry
- Blueness around the lips
- Not breathing
- High-pitched sound when breathing in
What to do if a baby is choking:Should the child or infant be unconscious, call for immediate help. However, if the child or infant is chocking and cannot breathe, you must act quickly.
If the child over 1 year is unconscious:
- Move the child to the floor and start CPR
- Remove the object out of his mouth only if you can see it
Infant less than 1 year who is conscious but not breathing:
- Hold the child face down on your forearm, supported by your thigh
- Keep the child's torso higher than the head
2. Give Forceful Blows
- Use the heel of your free hand to thump the child in between the shoulder blades up to five times.
3. Turn the Child Over
- Turn the child face up, and keep supporting the head and neck. If the object is not out yet, go to step 4.
4. Press the Chest
- Place the child on a firm surface, which may still be your forearm.
- Put two or three fingers in the center of the child's breastbone and push quickly up to five times.
- Repeat the back thumping and chest pushes until the object comes out or the child loses consciousness.
- If the child is still not breathing, open the airway by putting your thumb in the child's mouth and grasping the lower incisors or gums. The jaw should lift up so you can look for the object. Do not do a finger sweep.
- Do not try to pull the object out unless you see it clearly. You could accidentally push the object deeper in the child's throat.
5. Start CPR, if needed
- If the child loses consciousness, perform CPR and take the object out of his mouth only if you can see it. Never do a finger sweep unless you can see the object in the child's mouth.
For a child older than 1 year who is conscious:
1. Get the Child Into Position
- Stand behind the child and wrap your arms around his waist.
- Place a fist just above the child's belly button.
2. Try to Dislodge the Object
- Hold the fist with your free hand and quickly push in and up.
- Repeat until the object comes out or the child loses consciousness.
3. Start CPR, If Needed
- If the child loses consciousness, move the child to the floor and start CPR. Take the object out of his mouth only if you can see it. Never do a finger sweep unless you can see the object in the child's mouth.
What are the possible after effects from choking:
In the days following a choking episode, contact a doctor right away if the person develops:
- A cough that does not go away
- Difficulty swallowing or speaking
- Shortness of breath
How to prevent chocking in babies and toddlers:
- Learn first aid for choking and CPR
- Always supervise mealtimes
- Teach good eating habits by eating slowly and chewing thoroughly
- Cut-up the food into smaller serving portions
- Do not prop or leave a baby alone with a bottle
- Keep small objects away from young children
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