When you realize your child is choking, the moments following are probably the scariest moments of your parental life.
Unfortunately, choking is the leading cause of death for those children younger than age four and is the number one cause of accidental death in babies within their first year.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recorded 17, 000 children in emergency rooms because of choking in 2001. “For every childhood death as a result of choking, there are more than 100 non-fatal choking accidents.” (1)
Causes of Choking
Infants and toddlers appear to pre-programmed to put everything in their mouths. It is part of how they explore their worlds.
But choking can also happen with food chunks that are too large, or the child hasn’t completely mastered the art of chewing things up enough yet. “More than 50% of choking accidents occur with food.” (1)
Foods with strings such as celery, oranges, grapefruit or uncrispy bacon, skins that are difficult to chew like apples or hot dogs, and foods cut into chunks that are too big like melons, grapes or hot dogs, are prime candidates.
Other common foods associated with choking include:
• Hard candy
• Peanut butter
Other choking hazards include:
• Rubber balloons
• Small toys
• Pen caps
• Push pins
• Disc batteries
• Small balls
Symptoms of Choking and First Aid Steps adapted from this babycenter article.
Note, this is only a very brief guide, it is best to contact your local Red Cross and sign up for a course in life support.
Choking First Aid Step 1:
Signs or symptoms of choking include:
• Sudden inability to breathe, talk, cry or cough (total blockage)
• Coughing or gagging indicates a partial blockage
• Inability to cough up the object
• Face starts to turn red or blue
Choking First Aid Step 2: