Choking

Choking Can Be fatal - Do not take it lightly - Call an ambulance while trying to help the child.



Choking in small children is usually caused by a small foreign object blocking one of the major airways.  If children run or play with objects in their mouth, there is an increased risk that the object will accidentally get into the trachea (windpipe) or airways.



Choking can also be caused if food is not properly chewed.



Some infections that cause swelling of the airways or produce excessive or thick secretions (for example, epiglottitis and severe tonsillitis) can lead to choking.



Signs That Your Child Is Choking

Choking often begins with small coughs or gasps as the child tries to draw in breath around the obstruction or clear it out. This may be followed by a struggling sound or raspy squeaking whispers as the child tries to communicate their distress.



The child may thrash around and drool and their eyes may water. They may flush and then turn blue. However, some children - particularly babies - can be remarkably silent as they choke.



What To do -   For infants or young children:

  • Act urgently

  • Support the head and neck.

  • Turn the baby or young child face down with the head lower than the feet. Deliver five careful blows to the back between the shoulder blades. Turn the baby face up and press firmly on the breastbone between the nipples five times. Repeat (face down and face up) until the object is dislodged.

  • If you cannot dislodge the object, take the child to the nearest health worker immediately.
     

For Larger Children

  • Act urgently

  • Stand behind the child with your arms around the child’s waist.

  • Form a clenched fist with your thumb against the child’s body, above the navel and  below the rib cage.

  • Put the other hand over the fist and give a sharp inward and upward thrust into the child’s abdomen.

  • Repeat until the object is dislodged.

  • If you cannot dislodge the object, take the child to the nearest health worker immediately.

 

Have your child checked by a doctor to rule out any possible problems.