Choking is when your baby cannot breathe because a toy, food, or object is blocking the throat or windpipe. Usually, between 6 months till up to 2 years, there are high chances of getting choked.
Causes of Choking
Choking can be caused by breathing in a small object like part of a plastic toy, button, coin, balloon, or watch battery.
Choking may result in complete/partial blockage of the airway
- In case of complete blockage, it is a medical emergency.
- A partial blockage could become life-threatening if it is not immediately attended to.
It is essential to have a first aid kit handy with you to handle such emergencies.
The signs of danger of choking are:
- The skin colour turns bluish.
- If you notice, the child is experiencing difficulty breathing, or his ribs and chest are pulled inward.
- The child is losing consciousness.
- Inability to scream, talk out loud, or cry.
- Weak coughing sound.
- Unusual or high-pitched sounds are made while breathing in.
The following steps should NOT be performed when the infant coughs hard or cries intensely. Strong cries help push out the choked object.
Follow these steps if your child is not coughing loudly or does not have a loud cry:
- First, make your child lay face down on your thigh or lap. Hold the child’s jaw with your fingers and point the infant’s head downward, it should be lower than the body.
- Next, give up to 5 quick, forceful blows between the infant’s shoulder blades. Use your right hand’s palm.
If the object does not come out of the airway after 5 blows:
1. Turn over the infant to face him up. Support the head and let the child rest on your thigh or lap.
2. Place 2 fingers on the middle of the breastbone just below the nipples.
3. Give up to 5 quick thrusts down, compressing the chest one-third to one-half the depth of the chest.
4. Continue 5 back blows followed by 5 chest thrusts until the object is dislodged or the infant loses alertness.
If the child stops breathing, loses consciousness, or turns blue, you must shout for help or call for an emergency.
- NEVER give choking first aid if the child is coughing forcefully, crying intensely, or breathing enough, but be watchful to act immediately if the situation gets worse.
- NEVER try to grasp and pull out the object if the infant is conscious.
- NEVER give back blows and chest thrusts if the infant stops breathing due to asthma, swelling, infection, or a blow to the head. Do give the infant CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) in these cases.
To prevent choking in an infant:
- Never give balloons toys that have small parts or are breakable.
- Keep infants away from buttons, coins, nuts, popcorns, or other small stuff.
- Watch them eat, and don’t allow them to crawl while eating.
- The best safety lesson is “No!”