Every day in a parent’s life is equivalent to combat, trying to eradicate anything malignant in their child’s environment. Even though parents always put their best foot forward in providing a conducive atmosphere for their children, there are certain issues that always slip out of one’s attention.
Choking in infants and younger children is a nightmare that gives jitters to every parent. But there is always a way to maneuver around this danger zone. This article will revolve around giving an insight into safeguarding your child against the consequences of choking, steps you can take to help a choking child, and how to prevent such incidents in the future.
First of all, it is important to know that your child is choking and you will know this if the child is gagging, gasping for breath, and making high-pitched sounds. There are some immediate steps you could take to help your child by remaining calm-
This consists of a thrust to the abdomen which ought to be carried out with caution-
CONSIDER TAKING YOUR CHILD TO AN EMERGENCY ROOM (ER) IN CASE NONE OF THE TECHNIQUES ARE WORKING OR IF THE CHILD HAS INGESTED A BATTERY OR IS TURNING BLUE AND UNCONSCIOUS.
In simple terms, choking means that an obstruction is caused in the trachea or airway of an individual due to hindrance caused by any object stuck there. This means that airflow is blocked into or out of the lungs and the individual struggles to breathe.
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With infants and young children, it takes time for them to master the ability to chew and swallow, and at the same time, they are unable to cough up forcibly to clear out any obstructions. Adding to that, their curiosity to explore the environment usually pushes them to do so by putting things in their mouth, which is the most primitive thing to do. Naturally, this object could be a toy, stone, or even a solid piece of food that could be non-ingestible for the baby.
As per a survey that was conducted between the period 2001-2016, children under the age of five accounted for 73% of nonfatal injuries and 75% choking fatalities i.e., 305,814 non-fatal injuries and 2,374 fatal deaths. There couldn’t be a greater emphasis on the need for awareness and knowledge on infant choking.
Before the baby develops suitable motor skills to chew and swallow properly, refrain from including any solid food in their diet. This transition should be considered around the 4 month period. Food size and shape should be important parameters.
Be sure to serve small bites. Make sure the child is seated properly while eating and having food in a calm and unhurried manner. Teach them to chew food slowly. Cook or steam vegetables rather than serving them raw.
Don’t allow them to play with latex balloons, small balls, marbles, or toys made for older children. Age guidelines should be checked when purchasing a toy. Evaluate the toys regularly to make sure that they are in proper condition and do not have broken parts.
Foods like hard candies, whole grapes, popcorns, seeds, nuts, cheese cubes, foods that clump or are sticky, peanut butter, marshmallow, or chewing gum, should be avoided in their diet.
This could include batteries, coins, pen caps, buttons, screws, rings, earrings, erasers, crayons, stuffing from bean bags, or stones in general.
It’s important to understand that the windpipe of a child is as narrow as the width of a drinking straw. This magnifies the caution that is ought to be maintained by parents to avoid any unfortunate incidents of choking. This can be out of our hands in certain situations but what is required is for the parents to stay calm and make this process much tolerable for both the parent and the child.