Dos and don'ts when a child is choking
Mothers and caregivers should not put their hand inside the baby's mouth.
Choking can be a life-threatening emergency, especially in children younger than three years old, as it blocks respiration and cuts off the oxygen supply to the brain, said doctors. And if it happens, parents and guardians should know what to do.
Dr Sudarshan Shetty, a paediatrician at Burjeel Medical Centre, Abu Dhabi, stressed that mothers and caregivers should not put their hand inside the baby's mouth to try to pull out the obstruction. "They may end up pushing things further inside and cause the baby to choke further."
Instead, they must rush the child to a hospital or call the emergency number, he said.
Pointing out a few steps that can help, Dr Shetty said: "Rolling over a child to the side helps clear the windpipe. So whatever can come out will be able to come out from the side of the mouth."
Dr Sandeep Kuchi, paediatrics and neonatology specialist, at Aster Hospital, Al Qusais, added that if the child is one year old or younger, the parent should hold him or her in a head-down position and give five back slaps. Then, this must be followed by five chest thrusts to be given below the rib cage.
"If the child is more than one year old, five abdominal thrusts should be given. After each cycle of the manoeuvre, we need to check if the airway obstruction is relieved which can be observed by the change in colour, spontaneous breathing, and the child being able to cry or speak," Dr Kuchi. However, even if the emergency manoeuvre is done, the child still has to be taken to the hospital, he added.
Safety tips to prevent the incident
>> Do not overfeed them
>> While the child is eating, do not play with him and don't make him laugh
>> Keep coins and other small items that can be easily swallowed out of their reach
>> Don't be in a rush to give babies solid food
Some of the commonly aspirated food particles are nuts, watermelon seeds, popcorn , pieces of toys, coins, paperclips, pins, and pen caps. Other hazards are hard, round food items like hard candies, meat chunks, grapes, and raisins.
(As told by Dr Sudarshan Shetty and Dr Sandeep Kuchi)
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