As a parent, you have likely thought of all the possible things that can risk your child’s health and put them in danger. For many parents, choking is near the top of the list. However, if you know how to identify the signs of choking and then clear it up, you can respond to this emergency situation promptly and calmly.
It is important to know if you are putting your child at risk for choking with the foods you feed them. Foods like grapes, hot dogs, blueberries, and similarly-sized foods can be very dangerous.You may wish to chop food into small, bite-size pieces to suit your child. This ensures that, if they do gag, the food will still likely make its way past the airway without issues.
Infants are young toddlers who are still learning how to eat are often at highest risk for choking. This is because they are still learning the importance of chewing and how much food they can handle in their mouths.
Signs of Choking
If your child begins coughing, seems unable to breathe, experiences reddening of the face, or goes silent, you may well be dealing with choking. If your little one is coughing and it is clear that some air is still getting through, do not act immediately. If they can clear it up on their own, you can avoid potentially dangerous interventions.
However, when the airway is completely blocked, you must act swiftly and calmly to save your little one.
Steps to Save Baby from Choking
Memorizing these steps and even practicing them on a baby doll can give you the confidence you need to take the appropriate measures when your child is choking.
- Remain calm. Seeing your child choke is terrifying, but they are likely already very scared. Staying calm yourself can keep them from panicking.
- Remove the child from his or her seat.
- Turn the child so they are facedown.
- Place the child on your thigh, allowing their mouth to hang over the edge of your knee.
- Use the heel of your hand to deliver five back blows between the shoulder blades.
- This may be enough to dislodge the food. If not, turn the child around and do a finger sweep along the opening to their throat to attempt to catch the offending bit of food.
- If the child is still choking, lay them on their back. Use your middle and pointer fingers to do five chest thrusts along the sternum.
- Repeat this cycle up to two more times.
- If the child is still choking after three cycles of back blows and chest thrusts, call emergency services immediately, as you may be unable to clear the blockage on your own.
Though choking can be extremely scary to see, particularly when you are looking at your own child, it can often be resolved very quickly. Most children gag on their food at some point in their lives; it is simply part of the process of learning how to eat properly. When your child chokes, make sure you have these steps handy.