21 August 2012

What To Do When Your Toddler is Choking

We went to UST for a walk early this morning.  When it started to drizzle, we decided to eat breakfast at Pancake House.  We were enjoying our pancakes, Spanish Omelette and rice when Julia started coughing.  She turned red and it seemed like she was choking!  Don gave her water but she continued to cough like something is stuck in her throat.

I tried to be calm but deep inside I was already in panic.  I was desperately trying to remember what I read about choking in What to Expect The Toddler Years.  Don gave her more water and encouraged her to cough some more.  Julia let out a big cough and hugged me tight and started to calm down.

I was lucky Don was there.  He laughed and joked that he's not worried because there were four (4) doctors inside the restaurant.  Ah yes, we're in UST.  I smiled with relief but I wondered if she was not able to cough out the obstruction, would I know what to do?

So when we got home from our morning walk, I read What to Expect again.  Here are important things I should remember in case choking happens again:
BASIC LIFE SUPPORT FOR A CHOKING TODDLER (from What to Expect The Toddler Years)
  •  Coughing is nature's way of trying to clear the airways (of mucus, dust, smoke) or dislodge an obstruction.  A child (or anyone else) who is choking on food or on a foreign object and can breathe, cry and cough forcefully should not be interfered with.
  • If the child continues to cough for more than 2 or 3 minutes, emergency medical assistance is needed. 
  • If the cough becomes ineffective (it's silent) or the child is struggling for breath, making high-pitched crowing sounds, unable to speak or cry, and/or is starting to turn blue (usually starting around the lips and fingernails), begin the following rescue procedure. 
  • If the child is conscious:
      1.  Kneel behind the child and wrap your arms around his or her waist.
      2. Make a fist with one hand and place the thumb-side in the center of the body slightly above the navel and well below the rib cage.
      3. Grasp the positioned fist with your other hand and press it into the child's abdomen with a quick inward-and-upward thrust (use less force than you would on an adult or other child).  Each thrust should be a separate, distinct movement.  Repeat up to five times or until you see the object ejected or the child begins breathing normally.
  • If the child is unconscious:
    1. Place the child face-up on a firm, flat surface (a floor or a table).  Stand or kneel at the child's feet (don't sit astride a small child) 
    2.  Place the heel of one hand on the abdomen slightly above the navel and well below the rib cage, fingers facing toward the child's face.  Place the second hand on top of the first.  If you interlace your fingers, you will have more control.
    3. With the upper hand pressing against the lower, administer a series of up to five inward and upward abdominal thrusts.  Thrusts should be delivered to the mid-line, not to either side, and each should be a separate and distinct movement.  These thrusts should be gentler than they would be for an adult or older child.
Don always reminds me that presence of mind is important during emergency situations.  I know!  I know!  But it is just so difficult not to panic especially when I see Julia in pain or not comfortable.  I should always remember:  STAY CALM.  DO NOT PANIC!

How do you handle emergency situations involving your child?
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