There’s no doubt that seeing a child choke can be a terrifying experience for everyone. Choking can be caused by a number of everyday items found in your home like food, pen lids, buttons, food wrappers and jewellery. Ironically is always seems to be the random objects that can cause problems. And of course they can choke on their food. If you face this situation is here a starting point of information for what to do.
What to do if a child is choking
If you do find yourself in a situation where your child is choking, the most important thing is to remain calm. (Easier said than done!)
If your child is choking on something like food, check first if they are able to breathe, cough or cry. If they are – this will help in trying to dislodge foodstuff that has become caught.
If required, place them face down over your lap, attempt to remove the food and give 5 sharp blows between the shoulder blades using the heel of your hand.
If this still does not remove the food, call 000 immediately and follow their instructions.
If at any point your child stops breathing, phone 000 for an ambulance and commence CPR.
What do when child stops breathing?
Again, this is a terrifying concept to fathom; however knowledge is power.
Start CPR on your baby / child, remembering that for a baby you only use two fingers when doing compressions, for a child over 12 months use the heal of one hand or two. Never stop CPR – continue until the ambulance arrives and takes over or your child starts to respond.
If you are not familiar with baby and child CPR click through to watch this simple video.
Again, remain calm. If you find you’re too stressed, call a neighbour or loved one (who lives in immediate vicinity) to assist.
Prevention is always best so make sure you keep an eye out and remove small items out of reach of curious hands. Tie / raise blind cords and other items with small pieces such as mobile phone charger cords. From an early age – reinforce the message with kids not to pick up things and put them into their mouths. We know that many children will do this as they “discover the world”, but the sooner this message can be embraced, the better.
Encourage older siblings, cousins and friends to keep an eye on little ones. Especially if you’re trying to juggle cooking dinner and looking after the kids. We know it only takes a split second for an accident to occur. If you’re able to, have the kids attend a First Aid For Kids course – run by First Aid For You, in these classes kids learn vital tips to be able to assist in emergency situations.
Finally, have a list of emergency numbers, including neighbours, family and friends on the fridge for such situations. Especially if you have older children at school, who are in a position to help and make phone calls, while you conduct emergency response.
With these tips and recommendations, we wish you good health!
NOTE: Whilst its great to read tips on choking and baby CPR nothing replaces the expertise of having undertaken first aid training, this is an invaluable skill which could save a child’s life.
About the Author: Mary Dawes is the owner and creator of FIRST AID FOR YOU www.firstaidforyou.com.au, specialising in baby and child first aid. Mary has over ten years experience in First Aid training along with first hand knowledge the ‘real life’ dramas that can pop up when you have two very active little boys! Mary regularly appears on television discussing first aid for children and in the home. For more information on First Aid for You visit the website, Facebook page or call 1300 853 050.