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Dealing with medical emergencies – choking
Choking treatment – baby under 12 months Back blows • Sit or kneel and lay the baby over your lap, face down, head lowest, supporting the head • Give up to ﬁve sharp blows between the shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.
This is the ﬁrst in a series of features in which Daisy First Aid oﬀers expert advice to parents on dealing with a medical emergency – in this case, choking.
A child choking is something parents fear, particularly when they start introducing solids. Recognising that someone is choking and learning the treatment of choking can really make a diﬀerence to a successful outcome. Food and small objects can easily become stuck in the airway if they are accidentally breathed in rather than swallowed. Babies love to explore objects with their mouths as this is how they learn about new textures and tastes and to help new teeth develop. You can ensure that play objects are safe by checking they are unbreakable and that they are too big to ﬁt fully inside the mouth. If a child is starting solids, you may ﬁnd that your baby occasionally gags on even the most pureed food. This sensitive gag reﬂex allows the food to move forward into the mouth and it is quite normal.
Choking Treatment – adult or child (over 1 year)
If the child is old enough, ask them: “are you choking”? Instruct them to cough to help clear any obstruction. If the cough then becomes ineﬀective you need to carry out the following steps: Back blows
It is recommended that food such as grapes (and other foods that are a similar size) should be cut lengthways and for smaller children they should be cut further into quarters to pass easily through smaller throats. If an object or food does get stuck in the throat and your child is coughing, it is called ‘partial blockage’. Remember, if your child can cough, they can continue to cough until the blockage clears. You will know if your child is choking if they are unable to cough, cry or breathe. Check the mouth for the object. If you can conﬁdently pick it out with your ﬁngertips then do so, but you must take great care not to push it in further.
• Lean the child/adult forwards and give up to ﬁve back blows between the shoulder blades with the heel of your hand. For younger children, you can place them over your knees to give the back blows. Abdominal thrusts • Stand behind the child/adult. Place both your arms around them and make a ﬁst with one hand and place it just above the belly button. • Grasp your ﬁst with your other hand and pull sharply inwards and upwards. Do this up to ﬁve times. If these steps do not work, shout for help. Ask someone to call 999/112 or use loudspeaker on your mobile if you are alone and get emergency help. Keep repeating the cycles of ﬁve back blows and ﬁve abdominal thrusts until the obstrction is unblocked or if medical help arrives. If they become unconscious, you need to start resusitating them (CPR). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org • Tel: 07968 711937
• Turn the baby chest over facing up. Support the head and lower it below the level of the chest. • Use two ﬁngers to give up to ﬁve chest thrusts. These are similar to chest compressions but sharper and slower. If these steps do not work, shout for help. Ask someone to call 999/112 or use loudspeaker on your mobile if you are alone and get emergency help. Keep repeating cycles of back blows and chest thrusts until the obstrction is unblocked or if medical help arrives. If they become unconscious, you need to start resusitating (CPR). We highly recommend these steps are practiced on a ﬁrst aid manikin and that you attend a two hour family-friendly Daisy First Aid class to learn more. We also cover baby/child/adult resuscitation, recovery position, bleeding, burns, head injuries, allergies, meningitis and much more during our session. These can be carried out in a home setting (minimum of four attendees at a cost of £25 each) or in a local venue. Children under 12 months are welcome to attend our sessions. Please contact Andrea Thomas (Reading, Henley and Goring areas) email: andrea@daisyﬁrstaid.com or Helen (Newbury, Hungerford, Didcot, Wantage, Faringdon and surrounding Berkshire areas) email: newbury@daisyﬁrstaid.com for further information.
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