9 Expert Recommended Tips To Follow When Your Baby Is Choking
As babies begin to explore their environments, they begin putting almost any object around them in their mouths.Any underlying health conditions can increase risks of choking among children.
Children turn pale or blue when they are choking: Pediatrician
- A child's facial expressions can tell if s/he is choking
- Baby-proofing the house is very important for preventing infant choking
- Keep batter-operated toys away from children to prevent choking
Choking is quite a common phenomenon among children because their small airways can easily get obstructed. Babies take a lot of time to learn to chew and swallow food. And they may or may not be able to cough forcefully in order to dislodge the airway obstruction. As babies begin to explore their environments, they begin putting almost any object around them in their mouths. Besides, any underlying health conditions can also increase risks of choking among children. These include neuro-muscular disorders, swallowing disorders, traumatic brain injuries and developmental delays.
Common causes of choking
Apart from food, small objects like toys and children being distracted while eating food can cause infant choking.
What to do to prevent infant choking
Timing the introduction of solid foods properly is important to prevent infant choking. Introducing your baby to solid foods should be done at a time when your child begins to develop motor skills to swallow them. If you introduce your baby to solid foods before time, it can cause infant choking. Ideally, you must wait for 4 months to introduce solid foods to your baby.
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Paediatrician Dr Gorika Bansal gives the following tips for situations when your baby begins to choke:
1. Usually, babies younger than 1 year tend to choke on food items such as grapes, pomegranate, chanas, etc. Avoid giving such foods to your children. Choking can also be caused by small toys or toys which are battery operated.
2. If your child chokes in such situations, s/he will not cry or cough it out. They tend to become pale or blue. You can make it out from their facial expressions that they are choking. You should turn the baby with face down, on your thighs with his body a little above the ground. Give back blows to the child. Put pressure in between the shoulder blades in order to push out the object which is causing obstruction. Repeat this for 5 times.
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3. In case the object does not come out after giving back blows, turn the baby upside down facing you. Give 5 chest pumps. Place two fingers in the centre of the line joining two nipples. Give around 5 chest pumps enough to cause compression and push the object out. Repeat this for 5 times.
4. You can also hold the child face down on your forearm, supported by your thigh. Keep the child's torso higher than the head, positioning for a back thrust or back blows. Repeat this for 5 times.
5. In case any object is visible, use your finger to take out the object from the baby's mouth. But this should be done only when something is visible inside the mouth. Do not use your finger to take the object out unless you see the object as this will further push the object down into the throat and that can be very harmful.
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6. Try these methods repeatedly in order to push the object out. In case none of these methods work and seek emergency help.
7. In case the child loses consciousness while you are on your way to the hospital, Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) will be done. This procedure is required only in very rare cases.
8. If the baby is more than 1-year-old, a Heimlich manoeuvre is done. This is a procedure where you stand behind the child and wrap your arms around the baby. You need to put your two hands just above the baby's belly button and apply compression. This process is known as abdominal thrust.
9. Things like popcorn, battery-operated toys, and jewellery items should be kept away from reach of children. Baby-proofing the house is very important for preventing infant choking.
(Dr Gorika Bansal is a Visiting Consultant Pediatrician at Max Hospital, Saket and Rainbow Children's Hospital.)
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