Monday, June 25, 2007

What To Do When Your Child Is Choking

Over the weekend, there was a nine month old baby girl who choked to death when she was:
  1. alone in the living room
  2. attempted to eat a half inch sized fruit found on the floor
She did not survive by the time she was rushed to the hospital.

It is very important to be always on guard with newborns and babies as they can get into trouble very quickly, sometimes taking just less than a minute to die from some hazard. In Malaysia, there have been cases of young children drowning in rivers and buckets, choked on small objects and equipment such as foldable chairs and tables.

Caretakers and parents must assess whether the child can chew and if not, whether the food item is small enough to be swallowed without choking. Bones in fish and meat must be taken out beforehand, no matter how small or soft they are. In the above case, it shows that proper baby-proofing of the house needs to be done to ensure that there are no dangerous objects accessible.

Below are some links to procedures that you can perform when your baby is choking. I'll summarize it as follows.
  1. Observe your child for specific symptoms and react accordingly. If your child is not able to cry or cough, you may need to help remove the object in his or her mouth. If your child is coughing, encourage him or her to cough the object out. If you are going to help your child by giving back blows, be prepared to call for help within two minutes.
  2. Give back blows on the back area between your child's shoulder blades while you position him or her such that his or her throat is pointing downwards. If your child becomes unconscious, you may have to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR.
I've created a procedure chart (PDF document) that you can download, print and paste it in the rooms your child usually plays and eats in. Remember to write down your local emergency numbers at the top.

Links: - Infant First Aid for Choking and CPR: An Illustrated Guide (Babies Under 1 Year Old)
<URL:> - First-Aid for Choking and CPR: An Illustrated Guide (Toddlers)
<URL:> - First-Aid for Choking and CPR: An Illustrated Guide (Preschoolers)
<URL:> - First-Aid for Choking and CPR: An Illustrated Guide (Grade-schoolers)

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