Babies can sometimes slip out from under your radar and put things in their mouths as they love to do, whether they are toys, balloons, coins, small snacks, or just about anything that their hands can find. Sometimes, these objects can get into the wrong passage.
Instead of entering the food pipe after swallowing, they enter the windpipe. That can cause choking, which leads to air being blocked from reaching the lungs. What makes things worse is that the airways of babies are nearly the size of a straw. Therefore, it makes them more susceptible to choking hazards. Sometimes, even food, not mashed properly can block the airways. As we all can agree, that is every parent’s nightmare.
In such situations, while it’s easy to panic, the best way to handle is to remain calm and try to think clearly. There are a lot of ways in which you can pull your baby out of the condition even before help arrives, or in case you you must rush to a medical facility. Here are the most effective tips to handle a choking accident.
1. Look For the Signs of Choking
First and foremost, you need to know that your infant is choking. For that, you should look out for several signs. If your baby is gasping for breath or is wheezing, that might be a sign of choking. In addition, choking babies turn bluish, have difficulty talking, crying, or making noises, cough weakly, restlessly wave their hands and look panicked.
If you find your little one presenting any of these signs, then they might be having their airways blocked. If your baby is crying loudly or having a strong cough, then let them do it. Such activities often help push out the object from the trachea. However, if they are too choked to cry or cough, then you can apply the following choking first-aids to alleviate the situation. But before you start, make sure to call 911 or contact your doctor immediately.
2. Start Back Blows
Lay your infant faced down along your forearm. Use your thumb and forefinger to support their jaw. Make sure that their chest is positioned higher than their head. With the heel of your hand, firmly hit between their shoulder blades about five times. If the object does not get pushed out of the airway, then chest thrusts can come to your infant’s rescue.
3. Chest Thrusts
Lay the infant face-up on your forearm. Support their head and place their back on your lap. Using three fingers, give about five thrusts at the center of the breastbone, below the nipples. You can alternate five back blows with five chest thrusts, till the object is dislodged. After every cycle, check their throat. Do not pull out the object unless it has come out into the mouth.
4. Give CPR If the Baby Loses Consciousness
It might happen that your baby becomes unresponsive when you are giving them choking first-aid. They might turn blue and become unconscious. As horrible as it sounds, we want you to know that there is still hope.
If you can see the object in their airway, try pulling it out gently. Otherwise, till your doctor arrives, or until you reach an ER or UC facility, you can try giving your baby CPR. Lay them flat on the ground and give them a round of chest compressions in the region between their nipples.
If you are trained, then you can proceed toward rescue breathing, but as an untrained person, the best option is to continue with hands-only CPR until the doctor arrives.
It’s always wise for a new parent to take a CPR class prior to the arrival of your new baby, sometimes the few hours spent learning these techniques can be lifesaving and give you confidence to handle these situations while remaining calm.
Things To Avoid
- Unless you can clearly see the object, do not attempt to find and puck it out. There is the risk of pushing it further down the airway and damaging the back of the throat, or making the situation worst altogether.
- Do not give abdominal thrusts to infants. That is effective to treat choking in toddlers and adults. But infants’ organs are tiny and still developing. Their little bodies can be hurt, and their internal organs can be damaged by the action.
Though we wish that you never have to go through such a situation with your little ones, we hope that these tips to handle a choking accident give you some confidence and equip you with the required knowledge to take care of an emergency, should this ever happen.
Call the doctor as soon as you notice that your baby is choking. Even if the object gets dislodged during choking first-aids and they recover, a doctor still needs to check and rule out possibilities of latent dangers to their health. Most objects swallowed by a child can pass through the gastrointestinal tract without issues, however certain items such as buttons, batteries, sharp objects or magnets can cause very serious damage to internal organs, if this is the case please rush to an ER immediately.
We know it can be horrifying to see your little one choke, but we want you to know that you can absolutely help them get out of the situation. So have faith in yourself and your baby will be safe in your hands in no time.
Have you checked out our Tiny Traveler system? It’s an in-car baby monitor that replaces the old mirror and allows you to see your baby crystal clear in a monitor while keeping your eyes on the road. The best part is you can sync two cameras into one monitor to watch two kids, and the versatility of the monitor allows usage beyond the car, for instance in a hotel, or anywhere in your home. Keep a close watch on your babies in two separate rooms on the same monitor (within range).
For further information on the topic, check out these resources:
Children’s Health: What to do if a Child Swallows an Object
How to Perform First Aid and CPR on a Chocking Infant
British Red Cross UK – First Aid for Babies that are Chocking