Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What to do when Kids Choke

My almost 8 month old little baby is starting to eat those little puffs you can get at the store. He has made the choking face once, but he ate about 10 of them today without choking. I really worry about it. I am not looking forward to avoiding choking hazards for the next 2-3 years. I love it when kids stop putting things in their mouth and really know how to chew. It is such a relief. You can see below that 2,000 kids die each year from choking-mainly on food. So this story prompted me to look up the guidelines for responding to a choking child.

FROM NBC: Choking is a scary and potentially very serious problem in young children. A new study from Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. looks at trends in how airway obstructions have been treated among children.
Overall -- severe choking affects about 2 and a half million children each year -- and 2-thousand of those children die. The majority of pediatric choking patients are three years old and younger -- mainly, doctors say, because of their tendency to put things in their mouths, their incomplete sets of teeth, and the fact that their swallowing skills are immature. Nearly half of what kids choked on was food. hospital bills topped 34-thousand dollars, on average.


Step 1: Assess the situation quickly.

If your baby is suddenly unable to cry or cough, something may be blocking her airway, and you'll need to help her get it out. She may make odd noises or no sound at all while opening her mouth, and her skin may turn bright red or blue. If she's coughing or gagging, her airway is only partially blocked. In this case, let her continue to cough. Coughing is the most effective way to dislodge a blockage. If your baby isn't able to cough up the object, ask someone to call 911 or the local emergency number while you begin back blows and chest thrusts (see step 2, below).

If you're alone with your baby, give two minutes of care, then call 911. On the other hand, if you suspect that your baby's airway is closed off because her throat has swollen shut, call 911 immediately. Your baby may be having an allergic reaction — to something she ate or to an insect bite, for example — or she may have an infection, like croup. Also call right away if your baby is at high risk for heart problems.

Step 2: Try to dislodge the object with back blows and chest thrusts.

If your baby can't clear her airway on her own and you believe something is trapped there, carefully position her face down on your forearm with your hand supporting her head and neck. Rest the arm holding your baby on your thigh. Support your baby so that her head is lower than the rest of her body. Then, using the heel of your hand, give her five firm and distinct back blows between her shoulder blades to try to dislodge the object. Next, place your free hand (the one that had been delivering the back blows) on the back of your baby's head with your arm along her spine. Carefully turn her over while supporting her head and neck.

Support your baby face up with your forearm resting on your thigh, still keeping her head lower than the rest of her body.
Place the pads of two or three fingers just below an imaginary line running between your baby's nipples. To give a chest thrust, push straight down on the chest 1/2 inch to 1 inch, then allow the chest to come back to its normal position. Give five chest thrusts. The chest thrusts should be smooth, not jerky.

Continue the sequence of five back blows and five chest thrusts until the object is forced out or your baby starts to cough. If she's coughing, let her try to cough up the object.
If your baby becomes unconscious at any time, she'll need modified CPR (see full instructions below). Give her two rescue breaths. If the air doesn't go in (you don't see her chest rise), re tilt her head and try two rescue breaths again. If her chest still doesn't rise, give her 30 chest compressions. Look in her mouth and remove the object if you see it. Give her two more rescue breaths, repeat the chest compressions, and so on, until help arrives.

The best thing to do is to take a class on Choking/CPR. Here's the link to The American Red Cross of the Heartland classes.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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