What is choking?

Choking is when an object_ usually food or a toy_is stuck in the trachea (airway) causing a lack of airflow into or out of the lungs, so when a child is said to be choking, the child is having breathing difficulty

All children are at risk of choking, younger children are more at risk as young children tend to put things in their mouths since, we know they are young, they have smaller airways that are easily blocked and since they do not have much experience in chewing they might swallow things whole.

Is choking an emergency?

Sometimes, when an object gets into the trachea, it can completely block the airway. When there is no inflow of air into or out of the lungs, the brain could experience  shortage of oxygen which could become life-threatening.


If the airway is completely blocked and the child cannot breathe, speak or cough, they will show the below signs;

    • He having usual breathing sounds, such as wheezing
    • Inability to talk, cry or make a noise
    • Appears to panic
    • Watery eyes
    • clutching at the throat or waving arms
    • Become limp or unconscious
    • Turns blue

If this happens, the child needs help begin the standard rescue procedure for choking by immediately starting abdominal thrusts if you have undergone the training.

It is advisable that all childcare providers, whether parents, Carers, or Educators, learns this procedure which is usually part of basic first aid. Choking could happen at any time to various age groups (even adults), so it is crucial to be able to provide the help they need.



The technique of abdominal thrust

The technique of abdominal thrust is simple but must be done, with caution, especially on young children. The child is safest when done by someone trained. If done wrongly, the choking person, especially if it a baby or a child, could be hurt.

When a person does an abdominal thrust, a sudden burst of air is forced upward through the trachea from the diaphragm. It will dislodge a foreign object and send it out of the mouth so as to relieve the airways and help them breathe properly


Choking situation Tips

Immediately call 911 for any Severe choking situation

     If the child is choking and coughing but can breathe and talk;

    • These means the airway is not completely blocked; it’s best to do nothing. Encourage the child to breathe and keep coughing. He will be fine after a good cough.
    • Stay with the child and keep watch to see if their breathing improves.
    • Never pat or slap the child on the back if the child is managing to cough,as your action may dislodge the object and push it farther down the airway and worsen the situation.
    • Keep calm and stay with the child until he completely recovers.

     If a child is conscious but can’t breathe, talk or make noise or is turning blue, 

The situation calls for abdominal thrust;

    • Immediately call or tell someone nearby to call 911
    • Begin abdominal thrust if you are qualified to do so. If you are untrained and no one else is available who has been, wait until help arrives.
    • If you have call 911, the ambulance service operator will tell you what to do next while waiting for help.

      If the child is now unconscious and no longer breathing

    • Shout for help and call 911
    • If the child is not breathing, call 911 and ask for an ambulance, the ambulance service operator will be able to tell you what to do, and you will probably, be advised to start CPR while you wait for help.


 After any severe choking episodes, a child needs to get medical care if

    • You think the child swallowed an object
    • The child has a lasting cough, drooling, gagging, wheezing, trouble swallowing, or trouble breathing.
    • If a child seems to recover after the child turn blue, become limp, is unconscious during the episodes.


    •  Avoid giving children foods that pose choking risks for example, small food sizes such as grapes, nuts, raisins, hard or gummy candy, popcorn, and a chunk of meat that are smaller in size and shape than a child’s airway.
    • Hard foods should be properly cooked, mashed, grated, or avoided altogether.
    • Meat should be slice into manageable pieces for children.
    • Remember too remove tough skins from sausages and the likes.
    • Always supervise your child while they are eating.
    • Serve food to children in small bites at mealtime by cutting whole grapes into bits, and cook vegetables rather than serving raw.
    • Teach children table manners, and explain to your child the importance of eating food quietly and sitting down. Have them sit down for all meals and snacks and not talk or laugh with food in their mouths 
    • For children who still don’t understand the importance of table manners, do not feed them if they are laughing or crying.
    • Keep household items that could pose a choking hazard from the reach of children, toys, and household items such as beads, batteries, and deflated balloons away from children.
    • If you have children that is crawling or just learning to walk, get down on the floor often to remove objects that they could put in their mouth and cause them to choke
    • Always Choose safe and age-appropriate toys for children. Some toys have small parts that can cause choking. Apart from following manufacturers’ age recommendations, you can also determine if a toy is too small by passing it through empty cardboard toilet paper tubes. If it passes through, it’s too small.




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