Feb 18, 2014

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Dr. Cindy Gellner: So there are some foods that you might think are okay to give your child just a little taste of. It's not going to hurt them, just a little taste. Well guess what, it could hurt them. I'm Dr. Cindy Gellner and today we'll talk about choking hazards on The Scope.

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Dr. Cindy Gellner: So a lot of parents when they are thinking about foods for their children, especially older infants and toddlers and preschoolers, they're really not thinking that much about choking hazards as they are thinking about, "Oh let's let our child try this new food or this new food to try and expand their horizons."
But you got to remember certain foods are notorious for being choking hazards. Hot dogs, grapes, raisins, foods that you think would be really, really good to give a child, a tiny piece of apple, can cause a child to choke.

When you're giving your children any foods like this, you got to watch them. If you turn your back, they can choke and pass out in as little as 1 or 2 minutes and then they can't breathe, they can't cry, they can't let you know what is going on.

So what are some symptoms of choking? The first thing is, again, they won't breath, cry, speak. They might actually have a tiny little whistle come out of their throat. They'll look at you with this face of absolute fear.

Older kids, if they actually get something stuck, they'll hopefully know to put their hands over their neck, and that's when you need to stop, think, "Okay, let's get into first aid mode. What do I need to do?"

How to Perform Abdominal Thrusts (Children over 1)

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The most important thing is how old is your child? Because that determines how you're going to get that foreign object out of their throat. If your child stops breathing a child over 1 year old, you're going to give something called abdominal thrusts.

You're going to grab the child from behind and put your thumb just underneath the ribs, but above the belly button. Kind of give them a bear hug. You're going to make that fist with the one hand and put the other hand over it and give a sudden jerk upwards. Do it at a 45 degree angle and try to squeeze all the air out of the chest, that's what you're trying to do.

You're trying to get all the air that's in the lungs to push that object out of the throat and get it to come flying out of the child's mouth.
If the child is too heavy for you to do that, they're larger, you're going to lay them on the floor with the child on their back. Put your hands on both sides of the belly, just below the ribs, and again, so that sudden burst of upward pressure and hope it comes out.

If your child is not breathing and you don't know if you can do this or not, the first thing you're going to do is find help and have them call 911. If you are by yourself, call 911 and have them on speakerphone next to you while you are doing the choking, Heimlich maneuver cause if for some reason you can't get that out, you're going to need the EMS workers to come in and help get your child's airway established.

If your child chokes on a liquid, turns blue, passes out, you might not be able to get that out, you're going to need EMS's help.

How to Perform a Modified Heimlich Maneuver (Children Younger than 1)

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If your child is under one years old, you're going to do a modified Heimlich maneuver. You're going to actually place that child on your forearm, face down, with the head in the hand, and you're going to put the baby down so that your wrist is on your knee and your elbow is up by your chest and you're going to give five blows with your hands between the shoulder blades, in a fast manner, and then if your child doesn't start breathing, turn the baby over and do the chest thrusts, and then flip the baby over and alternate. The back blows and the chest thrusts until the child starts breathing again.

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What If They Stop Breathing? (Children of All Ages)

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If your child does pass out, start doing CPR. Mouth to mouth breathing. Even if there is a little bit of air waiting, you're at least going to get a little bit of air to the lungs. If doing mouth to mouth breathing does not move the chest, start over with trying to get it out with the abdominal thrusts and chest compressions to get that foreign body out.

One thing I tell parents is take a first aid course. You can hear me telling you how to do the Heimlich maneuver and how to take care of a choking child, but with you actually take a first aid course, you get the training to be confident if something like that happens, you know exactly what to do and you can go right into first aid mode.

The most important thing to take away from the message today is child proofing. If you are with your child when they are at the table, if you make sure that tiny toys are picked up by older siblings, if you make sure that anything your have is uncluttered and put away so that if you happen to turn your back, your child doesn't grab it and put it in their mouth, because little kids put a lot of weird things in their mouth, then you know that your child is going to be safe.

Again, it's always a good idea to have first aid training, but the best thing you can do to help your child is to prevent the choking in the first place.

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