The shape and size of the food we eat could increase the chances of choking. Foods such as grapes, mini tomatoes, popcorn, peanuts and the small decorations on the tops of fairy cakes can lead to choking as they are all potential choking hazards particularly for children
Fact 85% of choking deaths are caused by food
Many schools and nurseries ban grapes from packed lunches due to the high potential for choking, but all you have to do is avoid perfect circles by cutting the food lengthways i.e. batons.
However, it is easy to forget that some chocolates and sweets can be a choking hazard for exactly the same reason- they are the perfect shape to be inhaled into the trachea(windpipe)
Did you know that Cadbury Mini Easter Eggs have a warning on the back of the package, which states that chocolate should not be consumed by children under the age of four
It is not just mini eggs, but Maltesers and Smarties have the potential to be a choking hazard in very small children to.
How to respond to a child or infant is choking
First relax and then if you think they are choking ask them “Are you choking?”
If they can breathe, speak or cough then they might be able to clear their own throat. If not then they need your help straight away
In an infant
- First of all support the infant in a head-downwards, prone position, to enable gravity to assist removal of the foreign body; then
- Sit or kneel as you should be able to support the infant safely across your lap
- Now support the infant’s head by placing the thumb of one hand at the angle of the lower jaw, and one or two fingers from the same hand at the same point on the other side of the jaw
- And deliver up to 5 sharp back blows with the heel of one hand in the middle of the back between the shoulder blades
- The aim is to relieve the obstruction with each blow rather than give all 5
In a child over 1 year
- Back blows are more effective if the child is positioned head down
- A small child may be placed across your lap as with an infant, but if this is not possible, support the child in a forward, learning position and deliver the back blows from behind
If a back blow fails to dislodge the object and the child is still conscious, use chest thrusts for infants or abdominal thrust for children.
In a child over 1 year
- Stand or kneel behind the child and place your arms under the child’s arms and encircle their torso.
- Now clench your fist and place it just above your child’s navel but below the tip of the breastbone
- Place your other hand over the outside of the fist then bend your arms and elbows outward to avoid squeezing the ribcage and perform up to five quick inward and upward thrusts
- Repeat up to 4 more times
- The aim is to relieve the obstruction with each thrust rater than to give all 5
If the object has not been expelled and the victim is still conscious, continue with the sequence of back blows and chest (for infant) or abdominal (for children) thrusts
Call out or send for help but if none is immediately available then UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES LEAVE THE CHILD!
If the object has been expelled, assess the child as it is possible that part of the object is still in the airway and can cause complications, but if there is any doubt then seek medical attention.
IF the infant or child becomes unconscious begin CPR and call 999
Rutland First Aid Training provides a full suite of first aid training all tailored to your needs. We strongly recommend that everyone should have some basic first aid skills, so why not attend one of our paediatric courses, for example our one day Care for Children course
Rutland First Aid Training provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. Rutland First Aid Training is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.Read More