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Your child is choking… would you know what to do?

March 27, 2018

 

I am in the throes of weaning my second child. I had forgotten about the mess... how in the early stages everyone close-by risks being covered in partially chewed bits of food! Later on, flying utensils have become another feature much to the delight of my toddler who likes to join in. It is amazing just how far small bits of porridge and yoghurt will travel. This time round weaning does seem a bit easier and thankfully my daughter loves her food! She really does take after me.

I am offering home- made baby purees and just accepting that she will grab food off her brother’s plate and sample it so I suppose she’s also doing a bit of baby-led weaning! I have had a few frights with food getting stuck but luckily, she has sorted herself out with a bit of coughing and spluttering.

 

How to prevent your child choking…

·       It is so important not to leave a child unsupervised when eating. They should be sat upright in a supported position- not in a reclining car seat, especially when not being watched. It doesn’t take long to choke, and the worrying sign of choking is not the loud coughing…it is the silence. The silence means that no air is getting past at all and they need help, fast.

·       Any food group or method of weaning can risk choking although there are some more common culprits such as nuts, grapes, cherry tomatoes and cocktail/hot dog sausages. The size of a child’s windpipe is about the width of a hot dog sausage or grape so it is important to cut food length-wise. At this time of year, small hard Easter eggs can be a choking risk so make sure you check what the Easter bunny brings for your little one.

 

Would you know what to do if you saw your child choking? Take a moment to think about it. You need to give:

·       5 backslaps- place the child across your lap, head down and face down, supporting their head. Deliver 5 sharp, strong blows between the shoulder blades using the heel of your hand. If this does not help, call for help.

·       5 chest thrusts (for children under 1y)- place the child face up but head angled down across your lap and deliver 5 sharp chest thrusts using your first two fingers, central chest just above the bottom of the rib cage. OR 5 abdominal thrusts (for over 1y)- place the child on your lap, form a fist with your hands just under the ribcage and bring your fist sharply inwards and upwards.

·       Alternate between 5 backslaps and 5 abdominal or chest thrusts until the blockage clears or help arrives. If at any stage the child loses consciousness then you need to start basic life support…

 

Please take a minute now to watch this lifesaving video from the British Red Cross. https://youtu.be/etyEWWEtbqI

You could save a child’s life.

 

 

 

 

 

Doctor Siobhan

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