HELP! My child is choking

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Today I am delighted to introduce you to the lovely Emma Hammett who I met when I was presenting the What’s On 4 Junior Awards at The Hilton Hotel in Cobham on Thursday.

Emma was the First Aid for Life for the What’s On best antenatal/postnatal Award 2011.

Every parent dreads their child choking so here is Emma’s expert advice so that you can feel more confident and at ease around this subject.

“One of the most frequent concerns for parents is what to do if their child chokes. Choking is frightening, but rarely fatal. Babies and young children can choke on anything that can fit through a loo roll. To prevent choking, keep small objects out of reach, cut up food into very small pieces and supervise children while they’re eating, especially if they’re under five years old.

If a child shows signs of choking, stay calm and ask them to cough to help remove the object.

Clearing a blockage – babies under 1 year

First look in the baby’s mouth and if there is something obvious in the mouth, remove it with finger tips. DO NOT put your fingers down a baby or child’s throat, or finger sweep the mouth, as this can make matters worse by pushing the obstruction further down or by causing swelling.

Lay the baby downwards on your forearm or across your legs, supporting them under their chin and using the flat of your hand, give a firm back blow between the shoulder blades. Give up to five back blows and check between each blow to see if the blockage has cleared.

If the blockage hasn’t cleared, lay the baby on their back, place two fingers in the centre of the chest just below the nipple line and give up to five chest thrusts. Check to see if the blockage has cleared between each chest thrust.

If baby is still choking, call 999 (or 112) and continue alternate five back blows and five chest thrusts until emergency help arrives.

If at any point baby becomes unconscious, commence CPR.

 Clearing a blockage – children over 1 year and adults

Bend the child forward, supporting them on their chest with the other hand and use the flat of your hand to give a sharp back blow between the shoulder blades.

Check to see if the blockage has cleared before giving another blow. If the blockage hasn’t cleared after five blows, try abdominal thrusts/Heimlich manoeuvre:

Stand behind the child and place one hand in a fist under their rib cage. Use the other hand to pull up and under to dislodge the obstruction. Perform abdominal thrusts up to 5 times, checking each time to see if the obstruction has cleared. Anyone who has received abdominal thrusts must be seen by a doctor.

If the child is still choking, call 999 (or 112) and alternate five back blows and five abdominal thrusts until emergency help arrives.”

If at any point the child becomes unconscious, commence CPR.

Written by Emma Hammett

(First Aid for Life}

[email protected]

Twitter @firstaidforlife

0208 675 4036

First Aid for life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information. Photographs Copyright First on Scene Training Ltd. It is strongly advised that parents attend a practical First Aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency.

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