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How to prevent choking in children – First Aid

Updated on October 16, 2014
CrisSp profile image

CrisSp is your Emergency Specialist at 37 thousand feet. A writer without a niche. Wonderwoman consumed by wanderlust!

Choking can cause death! Know what to do, in case of emergency!
Choking can cause death! Know what to do, in case of emergency! | Source
Choking emergency
Choking emergency

Choking is a breathing emergency. It is a condition when our normal breathing function is constricted due to blocking of the airways to the lungs, as with food or other foreign objects. Choking usually is a result of injury or illness.

In real life situation, there are two different kinds of choking that we may encounter and probably have to deal with:

1. Conscious – a conscious choking person may become unconscious while you are giving first aid.

2. Unconscious – unconscious person, who you found out through your first aid actions, has blocked his/her airway.

Giving first aid for choking depends on the person’s age and as a guideline in the first aid of choking, the term child is referring to a person between one year and eight years old.

Signs of choking:

The universal sign for choking is hands clutched or around the throat. If a child is choking and conscious, he/she may be looking panicked, unable to talk, cough (forcefully) or breathe and lips turning bluish or dusky and may possibly lose consciousness.

For children under four years old, don’t feed them with hotdogs. For older children, cut the hotdogs in half lengthwise before serving it.
For children under four years old, don’t feed them with hotdogs. For older children, cut the hotdogs in half lengthwise before serving it. | Source

6 Ways To Prevent Choking In Children:

1. Check your house regularly for items that could cause choking specially if you have children on the crawling stage. Make sure you check under the furniture and between cushions on the sofa or chairs. Common hazard: Coins.

2. For children under four years old, don’t feed them with food like thickly spread peanut butter, grapes, popcorn, hotdogs, nuts and any round candies.

3. For older children, you should cut the hotdogs in half lengthwise before serving it.

4. Teach your children not to run or dance or move about when eating.

5. Believe it or not, balloons are common cause of choking. Never leave children unattended while playing and specially when playing with balloons.

6. Never leave children unattended while they are eating. Always watch and supervise them.

Your first Aid:

1. Determine if the obstruction is mild or severe by listening to how the choking person speaks.

2. If the person, in this case a child can speak, breathe or cough, don’t touch him/her. Ask them to try to cough up and spit out the object. Immediately seek for medical help, if this partial obstruction lasts for more than a few minutes.

3. Use abdominal thrusts and try to dislodge the blockage, if the child is unable to cough.

Armed yourself with knowledge. Watch here.

Choking do's and don't
Choking do's and don't | Source

How to perform abdominal thrusts:


  1. Stand or kneel behind the child, so you are at the right height and ready to support them, in case they become unconscious.
  2. Position your hands on top of the hipbones and place your fist midline, just above the other hand to administer abdominal thrust.
  3. Hold the fist with the other hand and press inward and then move upward (to a “J”) giving a bit of pressure or forceful thrusts.
  4. Keep in mind that your intention to give the abdominal thrusts is to get rid of the object blocking the airway.
  5. Use your fist and make sure that you don’t press against the ribs of the child with your forearms.
  6. Continue giving abdominal thrusts until the airway is cleared or the child has become unconscious.
  7. Once the object is removed, continue to look after the child. If the child becomes unconscious and unable to spit out the object, lower him/her to the ground. Ask someone to get immediate professional medical assistance. If you are trained to use AED (Automated External Defibrillator) and if one is available, administer.
  8. Make sure to protect the head and the neck of the child as you lay him/her to the ground.
  9. If you are by yourself, perform five cycles of attempted ventilations and compressions for approximately 2 minutes before drawing for EMS.
  10. Open the mouth and check for the foreign object. Remove any foreign object you see.
  11. Push back on the forehead of the child and lift the jaw. Put your ear close to the child’s mouth and nose to check for his/her breathing. Also check for the chest movement and listen to any murmurs or sounds of breathing.
  12. Open the mouth (airway) and ensure that that child is breathing for up to 10 seconds.

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Disclaimer:

Please note that if the choking is due to the swelling of the airway from some allergy reactions, injury or infection, abdominal thrusts will NOT work. CALL 911 immediately.


N.B. Author is NOT a medical practitioner. However, she is a certified First Aider and holds a degree in Medical Science. This information is only intended for First Aid purposes. Reader’s discretion is advised in using the techniques.

Copyright@ CrisSp~TM/03-2013. Fearless but not Heartless!

© 2013 CrisSp

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    • CrisSp profile imageAUTHOR

      CrisSp 

      5 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Hello Same DiNamics: Pleased to see you here and thank you for your valued comments.

    • Same DiNamics profile image

      Dianne Hunt 

      5 years ago from Maryland

      Choking is a very real and scary thing. One of the best things I ever did was learn CPR/First Aid. It has come in handy for me to reduce my panic and help me tell the difference between actual choking and just coughing really hard. My oldest two have at one point or another almost choked on Cheerios when little. By that point, I'd already known what to do and was able to help them. Every parent or potential parent should take a CPR/First Aid class. It comes in handy. It really does.

      I still cut my almost 4 year old's hot dogs and grapes in quarters. He still has not had popcorn. Even pretzels I'm careful of.

    • CrisSp profile imageAUTHOR

      CrisSp 

      5 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      moonlake: Thank you for reading. Popcorn is quite a danger for kids. There was actually a toddler who was given popcorn and for some reasons, the popcorn ended up inside his nostrils (God knows how) and almost killed him. Appreciate your comments and glad you find this interesting and useful. Take care.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 

      5 years ago from America

      Very interesting and useful hub. I always worried about choking with my kids. I think they were 10 before they could have popcorn!! Voted up

    • CrisSp profile imageAUTHOR

      CrisSp 

      5 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Michelle, my pleasure to share and thank you for your readership and comment. Take care.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 

      5 years ago from Singapore

      This is useful especially for parents with really young ones, who would put anything in the mouth without understanding the consequences. Thanks for sharing!

    • CrisSp profile imageAUTHOR

      CrisSp 

      5 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      teaches12345, agapsikap, DIYmommy: Thank you ladies for your readership and comments. Please feel free to spread the hub around if it would be of help to others.

      Sending you all some love from the sky~

    • DIYmommy profile image

      Julie 

      5 years ago

      A three month old newborn now, I know my son is gradually approaching that crawling stage. Things all around him are really beginning to fascinate him and peak his attention. Soon, I'll be embarking on a huge process to child-proof our home, and these tips will definitely help in preventing choking. Thought I'm a nurse by trade, and do have reasonable experience addressing issues like choking, prevention is always the best--not having to deal with it in the first place. Thanks for the great hub here!

    • agapsikap profile image

      agapsikap 

      5 years ago from Philippines

      Picking up small stuff that is more likely to choke my kids became a major part of my housekeeping. Great hub, great tips. Thank you Crissp for sharing this to us.

      I agree to teaches12345. This should be a mandatory training for all. Immediate action is necessary for this kind of emergency.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      5 years ago

      Excellent! This should be mandatory training for all parents and teachers. Your tips are well defined and ones that work. Voted up!

    • CrisSp profile imageAUTHOR

      CrisSp 

      5 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      b.Malin: Glad that you're here...indeed, thanks to your husband's quick action. You see, presence of mind is very important. I hope I'm reaching my goal through this hub which is to help and save a life.

      My pleasure to share and thank you for stopping by. Appreciate your readership and comment.

      Cheers!

    • CrisSp profile imageAUTHOR

      CrisSp 

      5 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      I agree with you aviannovice. Keep in mind, the goal is to dislodge what's blocking on the respiratory system and so "heimlich maneuver" is the best procedure for choking and of course, presence of mind.

      Always good to hear from you. Thank you.

    • CrisSp profile imageAUTHOR

      CrisSp 

      5 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Hello Nell, thank you for your reading and commenting. I sincerely appreciate all the votes and the share as well.

      Love from the sky~

    • CrisSp profile imageAUTHOR

      CrisSp 

      5 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Naresh: Thank you.

    • CrisSp profile imageAUTHOR

      CrisSp 

      5 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Janetwrites: Thank you for stopping by. I'm glad you find this useful. Take care.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 

      5 years ago

      Hi CrisSp, What an Important and Educational Hub you have presented for all of us to gain insight into, "Life Saving". Choking can happen to Anyone...young or old. I know years ago, when my Sons were small, I was Laughing at dinner and almost choked. Quick action by my husband saved my life.

      Thanks for sharing Excellent points, which generated Wonderful Comments.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      This was beautifully done. Everyone with a child needs to copy info on the heimlich maneuver and have it handy in the house. One never knows what will happen with youngsters and it is better to be prepared than not. Adults can panic during these situations and FORGET this maneuver out of fear. I cannot stress having a backup plan.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      That was great information. and simply put especially for people who are learning, or need to know quickly, great hub, thanks and voted and shared, nell

    • profile image

      Naresh 

      5 years ago

      nice

    • janetwrites profile image

      Janet Giessl 

      5 years ago from Georgia country

      I have two little children. That's why choking could always be a danger. So reading your hub was really useful for me. Thank you.

    • CrisSp profile imageAUTHOR

      CrisSp 

      5 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Hello DDE! Thank you. That's the main goal--to help and spread some knowledge on how to handle and what to do if face by the circumstances and it's for everyone. You'll never know when this handful of tips will become handy. Good to see you here. Take care.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Valuable information for parents and so helpful too thanks for sharing this Hub

    • CrisSp profile imageAUTHOR

      CrisSp 

      5 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Thank you Arun. Appreciate the feedback and the additional note.

    • CrisSp profile imageAUTHOR

      CrisSp 

      5 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      tirelesstraveler: I think you meant back blow. Yes, but that procedure is for infants (one year below). To clarify the confusion, this hub is intended for children--one year to eight years old as I've indicated therein. Nevertheless, thank you for reading and leaving a comment. Cheers!

    • CrisSp profile imageAUTHOR

      CrisSp 

      5 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Hi Sue! You're welcome and thank you for coming by. Yes, please pass it on. The goal is to help and spread some knowledge. Take care.

    • CrisSp profile imageAUTHOR

      CrisSp 

      5 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Faith, thank you. Always a pleasure to see that lovely smile on my screen. Take care.

      Love from the sky~

    • CrisSp profile imageAUTHOR

      CrisSp 

      5 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Thank you Bill. My goal is to spread awareness that everyone can do it, provided we know how to do it properly. An actual experience on board prompted me to hub about this important subject that we sometimes take for granted. We can all save a life.

      Love from the sky~

    • ARUN KANTI profile image

      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 

      5 years ago from KOLKATA

      Very useful write up well presented. If the choking is thru' the nose we allow a child to sneeze by inserting a foreign substance like snuff to enable him or her to exhale the air and the trapped substance easily.Thanks for sharing.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 

      5 years ago from California

      Excellent information, Well presented.

      Do they not recommend picking small children upside down and a slap on the back anymore?

    • profile image

      Sueswan 

      5 years ago

      Hi Chris,

      Thank you for sharing this valuable hub with us.

      Passing it on .

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      5 years ago from southern USA

      Very useful hub here for all parents and grandparents alike to know.

      Excellent write.

      Voted up + and sharing

      God bless. In His Love, Faith Reaper

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Such important information and you delivered it well. Every single parent should be required to read this. Well done Cris!

      Sending hubs from Olympia,

      bill

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