Oct 9, 2017

Dr. Gellner: If you've ever seen a child choke, not just gag, but truly chokem then you will probably go into panic mode just like the choking child. But keeping calm can help you do the right thing. I'll discuss what to do for a choking child on today's Scope. I'm Dr. Cindy Gellner.

Announcer: Keep your kids healthy and happy. You are now entering the Healthy Kids Zone with Dr. Cindy Gellner on the Scope.

Dr. Gellner: First, if the child is breathing and coughing, encourage them to cough hard. Don't give them anything to drink because the fluid might take up space needed for the passage of air and completely block off their airway. Next, give the child first-aid. It's a good thing for all parents to take a CPR class, because they'll also teach the Heimlich maneuver in those classes as well. Also, have someone call 911 in case the object stays lodged, and the child stops breathing.

For children over a year old, you want to give them high abdominal thrusts. Grab the child from behind, and put your hands just below the lower ribs, but above their belly button, like you were giving them a big bear hug. Make a fist with one hand, and fold the other over it, and then give sudden upward and backward jerks with your fist to try to squeeze all the air out of the chest and pop the object out of their airway.

For babies under a year old, you don't want to do that technique, because you could rupture their spleens or livers. You'll want to put the baby face down at a 60 degree incline over your knees, and with their head down. Then give five quick blows with the heel of your hand between their shoulder blades. If they're still choking and not breathing, lay them on the floor, and give them five rapid chest compressions over the lower third of the breastbone using only two fingers. Alternate the back blows and chest thrusts until EMS gets there.

Remember, never be afraid to call 911 as soon as the child chokes.

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