Choking in babies is scary. If you are looking for what to do when baby is choking, this can be a complete guide on choking in babies and how can you help him.
Starting solid foods, crawling or walking are great milestones of your baby’s life. With these big steps in your baby’s growth, the responsibility that arrives for you is being extra cautious for him. It is the time when your child is more susceptible to choking. Wondering, why babies are more vulnerable to choking? Read below to get an answer to your query.
Why are babies more exposed to choking?
Choking is very common in babies and it can even lead to the death of a baby in a certain situation. This is because their small airways get easily blocked and parents are not able to respond perfectly which may result in serious injury or death of a baby. Babies take some time to learn the art of chewing and swallowing. Also, babies are not mature enough to forcefully ooze out the obstructed thing from their airways.
Causes of your baby choking
• Food is the most common cause of choking in babies. Peels or bigger food bites can lead to choking in infants.
• Babies tend to put everything in their mouth while exploring their environment. It is another cause of choking in babies.
• Another common cause of choking in babies is when they slip underwater in a bathtub or pool.
• Health conditions may also increase the risk of choking in babies. Babies who have swallowing disorders, or suffer from neuromuscular disorders, traumatic brain injury and any developmental delays are more prone to choking than others.
What can you do prevent your baby from choking?
Along with supervision, you must apply simple methods to prevent choking in your baby.
Solid foods must be introduced at proper time
Wait till your baby has lost his tongue reflux thrust or developed the motor skills of swallowing food. You should start with pureed food at the minimum age of 6 months or after.
Avoid high – risk foods
Solids or food chunks should be started when your baby reaches 8 months or above. You should not give meat, hot dogs, raw vegetables, grapes, oranges, etc., to your baby. These foods are hard to swallow and can lead to choking in your baby. Always give peeled fruits to your baby as the peel is most likely to get stuck to your baby’s tongue or the airways. Other high-risk foods include peanut butter, marshmallows, chewing gum, nuts, popcorn, etc.
Monitor your child’s mealtime
Do not let your baby move too much while eating. Always try to make your child sit properly while eating. Also, teach him the art of chewing the food and then swallowing it. When your baby starts having food on his own, do not let him have big bites or stuff large food items in his mouth.
Keep your home baby proof
Common household items like buttons, coins, dice, tablets, etc., should be kept out of your baby’s reach.
Check your baby’s toys carefully
Do not choose any toy which is beyond your child’s age. Do not allow your child to play with latex balloons, small marbles, nuts or bolts. Keep the hazardous toys away from your child.
What To Do When Your Baby Is Choking?
Here are some tips on how to help your baby when he is choking.
Handle the situation quickly
If your baby is suddenly unable to cough or cry, something is probably choking him. His skin might turn red or blue and he will probably find it difficult to breathe. If that's the case, let him cough. Coughing is the most effective way to extricate a blockage. If your baby is not able to ooze out the blockage, call the doctor for immediate help. If you can see the object, try to remove it with your finger. Do not poke your finger forcefully as it may worsen the situation.
Try to dislodge the object with back blows
If coughing doesn’t help your baby, give him back blows. Sit down and lay your baby’s face down on your thighs. Support his head with your one forearm. Using the other hand give up to five sharp back blows to your child in between the shoulder blades. If the blocked object doesn’t come out and your baby is still conscious, give him a chest thrust.
Give a chest thrust
Lay your baby face up on your thighs, keeping his head lower than his chest. Place two fingers in the middle of his chest and push inwards and upwards towards his head. Try to dislodge the object with each thrust. Repeat the back blows and chest thrust. If still, your child is choking, call your doctor to help him relieve from choking. Give abdominal thrust if your child is above one year old.
CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) is a must to learn
If coughing, back blows or chest thrust doesn’t relieve your child from choking, you must give him a CPR to clear his airway. If your child is not responding, is breathless and his lips are turned blue you must start the CPR immediately till the time the doctor arrives.
• Lay your baby down with his back on a flat and firm surface.
• Place one hand on his forehead and gently tip his head back. Then use your other hand and one finger to lift his chin.
• Look for a visible obstructed substance and try to remove the choke if you can. If not, and your child is getting conscious start CPR.
• Give him rescue breaths: Seal your lips around your baby’s mouth and nose. Fill your cheeks with air and blow into his lungs. As the chest rises, stop blowing and allow it to fall.
• Give chest compressions: Place two fingers in the middle of his chest and press down sharply. Give at least 30 chest compressions.
• If you are not able to give rescue breaths, give him chest compressions only.
Supervise your baby during mealtimes, play times, crawling and other activities to avoid any such situation. If the tips given in doesn’t work out, do call your doctor immediately to avoid any injury.