These tips from Caduceus Medical in Dubai can help you protect your child from choking.
19 March 2018| Last updated on 10 July 2018
At which stage in the baby's development should parents worry about choking?
When babies start weaning the risk of choking increases, they are moving from sucking to swallowing and it takes time for them to learn how to do this. Gagging and coughing is a normal part of this process and doesn’t necessarily mean they are choking.
Why are babies so vulnerable to choking?
Mainly due to their inability to cough effectively, and lack of experience chewing they are still learning. Babies have no concept of food volume and will put lots into their mouth at the same time, which can block their small air passages.
What are the most common causes of young kids choking?
Usually, certain food types, particularly spherical shaped such as grapes, raisins peanuts, jelly beans and small toys, beads, coins etc., the smooth edge enables them to easily block small air passages. Also be aware of dried fruits that can swell when they become moist.
What should parents immediately do when their child chokes?
Quickly assess if they are coughing effectively and note their colour and breathing pattern. If they are very pale or grey/blue colour, showing signs of drooling, irregular breathing and reduced noises, take the following actions: For babies (less than 1 year) put them over your knee head down and slap their back between the shoulder blades up to 5 times, if unresolved turn them over and push their chest (chest thrusts) with 2 fingers just below the nipple line.
For children older than 1year, stand behind the child encircle their tummy with your arms and place your fist between the belly button (navel) and breastbone and pull in and up (abdominal thrust). Call an ambulance immediately for any baby or child that requires chest or abdominal thrusts.
Should parents consider taking their kids to the emergency, or is it safer (and faster) to solve the situation at home?
Try the above manoeuvres at home and then call an ambulance.
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What emergency numbers should parents in Dubai be contacting in the event their kids choked?
The generic emergency number is 999 and they should request an ambulance clearly stating the emergency and as much information about location including any distinct nearby landmarks.
What are the best tips to prevent babies and young kids from choking?
- Always supervise babies and children while they are eating.
- Cut food to an appropriate size, for example cut grapes length wise rather than across the middle to reduce the diameter.
- Check the surrounding area where babies/children are crawling and playing.
- Remove all potential choking hazards from the area for example small toys, tissues, coins etc.
How about when babies cough really hard after choking, but seem to be handling the situation on their own should parents also get involved?
If the baby/child is coughing effectively let them clear the obstruction themselves without intervening. Babies don't usually have a loud cough so look at their colour if they have changed colour from red to pale intervene.
Can parents in Dubai be trained in order to avoid this type of situation in the future?
Yes, there are many first aid companies that offer training prevention of and management of choking.
Any choking myths parents should know about?
- If the child is coughing effectively do not intervene.
- Do not raise the child's arms above the head as this can worsen the situation.
- Do not put your fingers in the child’s mouth to remove an obstruction as the funnel shape of their airway means you can push the blockage further back causing complete obstruction worsening the situation.
Caduceus Medical is a Dubai based First Aid Training Company that provides training to both healthcare professionals and non-healthcare professionals. They offer bespoke training for parents, nannies, and maids, either at home or in the training centre.
For enquiries please contact Caduceus Medical at [email protected] or call 045547056.