Choking Hazards and Emergency Instructions

There are many things that children can choke on.

A few examples are:

  • Small toys or pieces of a toy
  • Food
  • Plastic bags
  • Coins
  • Stones
  • Balloons
  • Any other object smaller than the opening of a toilet paper roll (Actual size Toilet Paper Roll)

Toys for this age group are made with safety in mind. They are designed to be too big for children to stick in their mouths. But small parts can come off and be a danger to your child. It is your job as a parent to evaluate your baby’s toys and make sure they do not have small parts that could break off and choke your child. Anything smaller than a toilet paper roll is too small. Balloons are incredibly dangerous, accounting for one-third of all choking deaths in children.

Some foods can also cause a child to choke. Even if babies have front teeth that can bite into something like a hot dog, a piece of chicken or raw vegetables, they do not have their back teeth.

The back teeth do the grinding work that breaks down food to a good swallowing size. Be sure all items are cut into tiny bites that can be swallowed without blocking the windpipe. Foods with nuts are also a choking danger.

Foods that are dangerous to babies include:

  • Hot dogs
  • Popcorn
  • Raisins
  • Nuts/seeds
  • Chips
  • Hard candy
  • Raw vegetables
  • Raw fruits
  • Grapes
  • Peanut butter

What to Do if Your Baby Chokes

If your baby is choking you have to act fast! Practice what to do in advance. That way, if you really do face a choking incident, you will know exactly what to do and panic will not take over.

Signs of Choking

Is your baby choking? Look at his skin color. Your baby will turn blue if he is not getting enough oxygen. Can he make sounds? If not, this is another sign that he is choking on something.

Emergency Instructions if Child Chokes

  1. While sitting, hold your baby by the ankles and slide a hand underneath him so you are supporting your baby’s head.
  2. You now have your baby lying on your forearm face up.
  3. With your other hand, make a “V” with your thumb and your forefinger and grab your baby’s jaw between your fingers.
  4. Gently open the baby’s mouth.
  5. Now, turn your baby over so your baby is now on his stomach on your opposite forearm.
  6. Lower your baby to your lap. Remember to keep the jaw open with your fingers.
  7. Next do five blows with the palm of your hand between your baby’s shoulder blades.
  8. Turn your baby over on your lap so he is now facing you.
  9. Draw an imaginary line between your baby’s nipples.
  10. Your ring finger goes on that imaginary line in the middle of the chest.
  11. With the two fingers next to the ring finger, do five chest thrusts about an inch deep.

When you hear your baby cry that means his airway has been cleared. If you can’t clear his airway, call 911 right away to get assistance. Once your baby is safe, it is very important for him to see a doctor to make sure everything is okay. You may also want to take a CPR class. This will prepare you in case your baby chokes or stops breathing. Your local health department or Red Cross can help you find a class.

—- from First5 Advice for New Parents

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