Spring has sprung - The weather is warmer and the light is here to stay, ok not so brilliant for bedtime (thank goodness for blackout blinds and gro-clocks right?!) but there’s nothing like a picnic or al fresco dining with your little ones. Fresh air, sunshine, good quality family time: this is what fun parenting is all about. Those wonderful moments of memory making.
You’re enjoying yourself when you realise you’re little one is coughing and spluttering, they’re turning red. Panic sets in. You realise they are choking on some food but you don’t know what to do.
First: TAKE A DEEP BREATH, STAY CALM.
If they are old enough, ask them if they are choking. (it might sound silly, but ask! The more information you have the easier it is to deal with the situation) Taking that deep breath enables you to avoid going into panic mode yourself. I know it’s harder to do when it’s your own child, but although it’ll feel like a lifetime, it will only be a second or two. And that composure will mean you can deal with the situation calmly and in a controlled manner.
If your little one is coughing, it is possible they might be able to dislodge the food themselves. Encourage them to cough. Also the coughing and the redness may sound and look very dramatic, but if they can cough you know that air is getting past the stuck object. If the object has blocked the airway completely, there will be almost no sound coming from your child. If they are old enough they may touch their throat. A baby may just sit there, very quietly, and very still. This is why it is so important to watch your children when they are eating.
If the child can’t cough up the object, you’ll need to intervene:
1: Kneel behind a young child if they are tall enough, or put them over your thighs.
2: You need to administer (up to) 5 back blows, aim to contact the palm of your hand with the middle of their shoulder blades.
3: If this hasn’t dislodged the object, then you need to perform (up to) 5 abdominal thrusts. Make a fist and place it just above the bellybutton, place your other hand flat over your fist and pull sharply upwards and inwards. (imagine you are trying to get your fist under their rib cage.)
For a baby, under the age of 1, instead of abdominal thrusts, place two fingers below their nipples and push firmly, these are chest thrusts.
4: If these aren’t working, call 999, and return to back blows. Continue with 5 back blows and 5 abdominal/chest thrusts until the blockage has cleared, or help arrives.
If a child looses consciousness due to a blocked airway, you will need to perform CPR. This, and many other skills can be learnt at a local Daisy First Aid class. They provide award winning, fun and friendly classes, designed to teach you how to potentially save a life, without frightening you with horror stories or gory details. They run at local venues, or can arrange to come to your home, for groups of 4 or more. Visit Daisy first Aid’s website: www.daisyfirstaid.com to find your local trainer and classes.
And remember, life is for living, adventures are for having, food is for feasting on (unless you have a fussy eater- in which case, don’t worry- hopefully they’ll grow out of only eating jam sandwiches!) It’s so true what they say about parenting, the days are long but the years are short. Enjoy these moments with your little ones. From milk, to the first taste of the first food to suddenly it’s them taking you for meals out. It’ll pass by in an instant; indulge yourself in soaking up these family moments.