This is where we will share our children's health opinion pieces, advice, tips and tricks, resources and so much more. Check back here frequently for the latest baby and child health news and insight from us!
Kids love to put everything in their mouths. We understand that this is developmentally normal, however, when busy little bodies run around with objects in their mouth the risk of choking is high!
When it comes to eating, you need to be aware that choking and gagging are not the same. Choking is a medical emergency when an object (anything that can fit into an old-school film canister!) blocks the airway (breathing tubes) either completely or partially. Different from choking, gagging is completely normal – the gag reflex helps prevent choking. So how do you tell the difference?
A child who is gagging may cough, turn red in the face, have watery eyes, and their tongue may push out the offending bit of food, or they may have a small vomit. This can happen when a child is learning to eat, or even when the dislike the taste of the meal they are eating! The key is that the child won’t be too distressed by this, they will gag and then happily keep eating (provided it is not the taste that is putting them off). In contrast, a child who is choking will look scared. They may have an ineffective cough or be silent, and if the object isn’t cleared quickly, they will start to turn blue. They need your help very quickly!
When it comes to choking, here are 4 essential things you need to know:
Don’t attempt to do abdominal thrusts (Heimlich manoeuvre) on a child, use back blows and chest thrusts as shown in the video. Remember, gagging is completely normal, choking is not.
Even though we can try and prevent accidents such as choking, it can still happen! We can’t wrap our children in cotton wool, and nor should we want to – they need to explore the world. However, following these simple tips can help prevent choking in a child in your care, and most importantly, make sure you know the first aid response, just in case.
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