So I thought I'd go over some basics with you. These are things every parent and grandparent should know.
Kids choke sometimes. That's just the way it is. Whether they're eating things that are high on the choking hazard list (like hot dogs, grapes, goldfish-shaped crackers, peanuts, hard candy, etc.) or simply popping things into their mouths they shouldn't be (like marbles, coins, beads, etc.), the fact is, they can choke. That's why you need to know what to do. It's also why you shouldn't feed your child in the car or any other place where you cannot watch him the entire time he is eating!
Here are the steps for babies under 1 who are conscious:
- Immediately place him facedown on your forearm. Support his neck and chin with your fingers and make sure his head is lower than his chest.
- Lightly, but firmly, give him 5 quick blows to his back between his shoulder blades using the heel of your hand.
- If nothing comes out of the baby's mouth, turn him over and lay him faceup on a hard surface (table or floor).
- Using 2 fingers, give him 5 quick thrusts in the middle of his breastbone, just below nipple level.
- Repeat both processes until the object comes out, or breathing resumes.
For children over 1, the Heimlich is a bit different. After all, it would be tough to lay your 6-year-old along your forearm, wouldn't it?
- Depending on your child's height, stand or kneel behing her and wrap your arms around her.
- Place your fist right above her belly button.
- With your free hand, grab your fist give quick upward thrusts.
- Continue thrusting until the object is dislodged.
According to Nicholas Tsarouhas, M.D., associate medical director of the emergency department at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, "Always have your child evaluated after any near-choking incident."
On Thursday, I'll post some of the other potential hazards you need to be on top of, from poisoning to burns.
Caring for your children ... and you,