If you find yourself in a situation where a baby or an adult is choking, the most important thing is to remain calm. (Easier said than done!)
Choking in babies and children can be caused by a number of everyday items found in your home like food, pen lids, buttons, food wrappers and in rare cases, jewellery. It’s always the random objects that can cause problems!
First Aid For You has created some steps for you to follow should you be faced with someone who is choking. It is important to remember that CPR techniques for babies differs to that for a child over 12 months.
Firstly, have a list of emergency numbers, including neighbours, family and friends on the fridge for such situations. Especially if you have older children at school, who are in a position to help and make phone calls, while you conduct the emergency response. Alternatively, have the child look go to a friendly neighbour for assistance.
If your child (over 12 months) is choking on something like food, check first if they are able to breathe, cough or cry. If they are – this will help in trying to dislodge foodstuff that has become caught.
If required, place them face down over your lap, attempt to remove the food and give 5 sharp blows between the shoulder blades using the heal of your hand.
If this still does not remove the food, call 000 immediately and follow their instructions.
If at any point your child stops breathing, phone 000 for an ambulance and commence CPR. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with calling an ambulance or asking for assistance when a child is choking.
What do you do when someone stops breathing?
Again, this is a terrifying concept to fathom; however knowledge is power.
Start CPR on the person affected, remembering that for a baby you only use two fingers when doing compressions.
For a child over 12 months and adults, use the heal of one hand or two. Never stop CPR – continue until the ambulance arrives and takes over or your child starts to respond.
Again, remain calm. If you find you’re too stressed, call a neighbour or loved one (who lives in immediate vicinity) to assist.
Prevention is always best so make sure you keep an eye out and remove small items out of reach of little curious hands.
We highly recommend registering your children to attend a First Aid For Kids course – run by First Aid For You, in these classes kids learn vital tips to be able to assist in emergency situations.
It may be time to update your own vital first aid skills, First Aid For You can bring their first aid training to your family, community or parenting group, right across Australia.
With these tips and recommendations, we wish you good health.
About The Expert
Mary Dawes - Owner and Creator of FIRST AID FOR YOU, specialising in baby and child first aid. Mary has over ten years experience in First Aid training along with first hand knowledge the 'real life' dramas that can pop up when you have a family of five kids!