Witnessing their baby choking on food is every parents nightmare. The combined feelings of confusion, panic and terror have often overwhelmed many parents in this situation. In fact, the amount of parents who admit that they would not know what to do in this type of situation is frightening.
St. John Ambulance is an organization that is dedicated to informing people about first aid. According to a video they posted, 40% of parents have witnessed their baby choking at some point, however 80% had no idea what to do in this situation. This highlights the need for increased awareness and information on how to properly dislodge choking hazards from babies.
How to Keep Your Baby From Choking
Dislodging a choking hazard from a baby is much different from doing the Heimlich maneuver . This is because their bodies are still very delicate, and doing it the wrong way could leave them with serious injuries.
Here is a step-by-step procedure of how to stop a baby from choking.
Assess The Situation
If your baby is choking but you can hear them coughing and wheezing, do not interfere. This means that there is still air going to their lungs and that they are in no immediate danger. Trying to move the object blocking their airway at this point can cause it to become wedged deeper into their esophagus and only make the situation worse.
If it seems like your baby will not stop coughing, then you can begin the procedure. If you notice your baby ceasing to cough or make any noise then this may indicate that the airway has become fully blocked. In this case you should call 9-1-1 immediately and begin the procedure as you wait for the ambulance.
Perform Back Blows
If you find that you need to physically intervene to keep your baby from choking, begin by using back blows.
Carefully position your baby so that they are lying face down on your forearm. Use your thumb and fingers to hold their jaw in place and lower your forearm to your thigh, so that your baby’s head is closer to the ground than their chest.
Using the heel of your hand, deliver five firm back blows between your baby’s shoulder blades. Make sure to maintain the support of your baby’s jaw by using your thumb and fingers.
Perform Chest Thrusts
If the back blows did not work, move on to chest thrusts. Place your baby face up on your forearm while supporting the back of their head with your hand. Make sure that their head is still closer to the ground than their chest.
Place the tips of two or three of your fingers in the center of the baby’s chest. To a chest thrust with these fingers, pressing straight down on the chest so that it moves about one and a half inches. Then allow the chest to come back to its normal position.
Perform five of these chest thrusts in a smooth fashion, do not panic and begin to make jerky movements. If this doesn’t work, alternate between chest thrusts and back blows.
Call An Ambulance
If your baby is continuing to choke or they become unconscious, it is time to call 9-1-1. Continue to alternate between chest thrusts and back blows as you wait for the ambulance.