Written by Dr. Chetan Ginigeri
Parents are always the protective shield for the kids. They wish to be with the child always so that the child doesn’t get hurt or no accidents happen. However, in reality, constant monitoring is not possible. There comes a time you must leave your child alone and allow them to become independent and more confident. Children are at an exploratory age, and the only way they can get a full experience of teaching is by putting this in their mouth. So, what to do when your child is choking?
As parents, we know that there are many unsafe situations for children. They can get hurt while playing, they can play with something unsafe, they can even choke when they put something in their mouth too. They are too young to understand that such a habit is unsafe and causes choking. Almost every parent goes through the situation at least once where children choke themselves. This is definitely an emergency situation and every parent should be equipped to handle it. Scroll down to know everything.
In This Article
Choking is a situation where food or any other foreign object partially or completely blocks the airway, making breathing difficult. Generally, choking can lead to a coughing outburst. In certain cases where the block is full, it can be fatal as well.
Choking is a medical emergency. If the airway block is not cleared immediately, it can even lead to death. It may take time to reach the hospital or a doctor. In the meantime, first aid and block clearing are crucial.
Abdominal thrusts are popularly known as the Heimlich maneuver. There is a widely accepted first aid for choking, and every parent can learn this to prepare for emergency situations. This technique helps clear the obstruction in the food pipe or the air pipe. The process may look simple, but must be done carefully, especially with children. Only a trained person must perform this maneuver.
So, how to do an abdominal thrust? The person performing the thrust forces air through the diaphragm that dislocates the object stuck and pushes it away from the mouth. If you wish to learn this technique, you can consult your pediatrician or a nurse, who will guide you and teach you how to do it.
There are a few things to keep in mind when learning or planning to do an abdominal thrust for choking.
Young children are very explorative and experiment with nature. This is one reason why they try to put things in their mouth, though sometimes it’s intentional, while for others it can be an accident. In both cases, choking can occur and can put the child in danger. But remember, choking doesn’t happen every time your child puts something in their mouth.
Having said that, let us learn what action to take when each of the following conditions happens.
This situation indicates that the entire airway passage is not blocked, and the condition of the child will be better once the coughing bout is over. Follow the steps given below:
This situation requires the use of abdominal thrusts to dislodge the choking object.
This situation is critical, and you need to rush to the emergency ward of the hospital.
[Read : CPR in Babies: Steps And Precautions]
If you want to protect your child from choking while eating, here are some tips:
[Read : Battery Safety For Infants]
Choking hazards are becoming common with passing time, despite parents being extra careful. Children are very unpredictable and can get into sudden problems owing to their high curiosity levels and inquisitiveness. In case the choking issues become serious, you must call the doctor or rush to the emergency department in the following situations.
Choking no doubt is an emergency situation. When the child is choking, look for signs such as the child becoming unconscious and breathless. If your child is just coughing and appears slightly breathless but otherwise seems OK, you need not panic. To be on the safe side, at least one person in every family should learn the Heimlich maneuver so that any choking emergency can be immediately attended to.
Vibration and pressure from back blows dislodge the blockage, often enough to clear the airway. In any case, it is important not to pound the child on the back if they are coughing. You may dislodge the object, which may allow it to slide deeper into your child’s airway.
A little above the navel, midway down the abdomen.
Give 5 initial rescue breaths.
If a child or infant isn’t breathing, give 12 to 20 rescue breaths per minute. This is approximately one rescue breath every three to five seconds.
Dr Chetan Ginigeri is an experienced Pediatric Intensivist with national and international training. With 15 years of experience, he is one among very few Intensivists in India trained to take care of children who need/had organ transplants. He has been responsible for coordinating the Pediatric Organ Transplant program.Read more.
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