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What to Do When a Child Is Choking: A Safety Guide

Did you know that the United States has at least one child who dies every five days from choking on food, and more than 12,000 kids receive treatment in hospital emergency rooms for food-choking injuries yearly?

It’s every parent’s nightmare: Your child begins to gag and choke, and you are the only one around. You’ve heard of the Heimlich manoeuvre but don’t know the steps or how to do it.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help your child and keep them safe. Read on to know what to do when a child is choking.

Stay Calm and Assess the Situation

Choking is an obstruction of the airways that can cause difficulty breathing and changes in behaviour such as immediate panic, clutching the throat, coughing, gagging, difficulty speaking, and wheezing. It is essential to remain calm when responding to a choking crisis, as panicking can worsen the situation. If a child is choking, assess the situation and see if you can determine if their airway is blocked.

If the child is coughing, vocalizing, and able to breathe, observe them for signs and symptoms of distress. If the child does not cough, perform immediate first aid. Get MyCPR NOW online certifications here in order for you to learn proper techniques when your child or someone chokes and save a life.

Give First Aid Immediately

When you don’t know what to do when a child is choking, it’s necessary to give emergency first aid as soon as possible. Make sure the area is safe and that the child is in a seated position. If something is blocking their airway, perform the Heimlich Maneuver by gripping their stomach and giving several quick, upward, and inward thrusts.

If the child cannot speak or cry and is turning pale, begin chest compressions upwards and inwards to help dislodge the object. Because of their small size, they may advocate performing several abdominal thrusts. Check the child’s mouth between each thrust and stop if the obstruction is relieved, and ensure the child remains in a safe and comfortable area.

Ask for Professional Help

If the child cannot talk, cry, or breathe, it is essential to call 911 and seek professional help immediately. Make sure to explain the situation to the professional help, as they will have more resources and knowledge to help alleviate the problem. Ask the operator for advice and follow their guidance.

Do not leave the child alone. If an object can be seen in their mouth, do not attempt to remove it yourself, as this may make the situation worse. Parents should take an active role in safeguarding against choking hazards to create a child-safe environment.

Know What to Do When a Child Is Choking

Choking is serious, so it is essential to know what to do when a child is choking. To protect vulnerable younger children, remember these: stay calm and assess the situation, give emergency first aid as soon as possible, and if the child is still in distress, ask for professional help immediately.

If a child is choking, don’t delay – knowing how to respond and act quickly can be life-saving. Take the necessary first aid tips to ensure you and your family stay safe.

Want to learn more? Check out our other blog posts for other helpful guides on various topics!

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