Saturday, August 8, 2009

Mouth full of pastry

As I watched my son delightfully stuff what I could only describe as a fistful of a cinnamon/sugar pastry into his mouth I surprised him with this morning, I couldn't help but worry about the possibility of choking...

so I remembered a "cheat sheet" I printed out for my husband and pasted to the refrigerator door the first time I left my son on a weekend getaway with the ladies. I refer to this on occasion as I have witnessed my son have a few scary episodes where he put too much or something inedible into his chomper.

Below is a good reminder for all of us Mommies and the like:

4 questions about: Choking

Will I know it when I see it?
Yes. Choking means that your baby is trying to get air or dislodge something that's partially obstructing his airway. Your baby may be choking if he has trouble breathing, is making unusual sounds, or is gagging, coughing, or wheezing. His skin may turn red or blue, and he may lose consciousness.

What should I do if my baby starts choking?
If your baby can cough, cry, or speak and appears to be breathing adequately, then his airway isn't fully blocked. He'll probably be able to clear the obstruction on his own, and the best thing a parent can do is stay calm and reassuring. But if your baby is gasping for breath, turning from red to blue, looks panicked (wide eyes, open mouth), or appears unconscious, then yell for help and ask someone to call 911 immediately while you try to clear his airway:
1. If (and only if) you see the obstructing object, do a finger sweep to clear it. If you don't see the object, don't put your finger in your baby's mouth, as it may push the object further back in his throat.
2. Hold your baby facedown over your forearm, supporting his chin in your hand. Keep his head lower than the rest of his body.
3. Give him five back blows: quick, firm-but-gentle thumps with the heel of your hand between his shoulder blades — remembering that a baby's internal organs are fragile.
4. If your baby starts coughing, let him try to expel whatever is making him choke rather than inserting your fingers in his mouth to remove it. If he doesn't cough up the item, carefully turn him over and apply two or four of your fingers to the middle of his breastbone and give five chest thrusts (about one-half to one inch deep).
5. If the item causing the choking doesn't come out, check again for visible obstruction. Lay your baby flat on his back, hold his tongue down with your thumb, and lift his jaw up to look at the back of his throat. If you still can't see the object and have been instructed in rescue breathing or CPR for infants, start the process. Otherwise repeat steps 2 and 3. Continue to do the best you can and get help as quickly as possible.
What are good ways to prevent choking?
Give your baby age-appropriate food (mashed or strained foods and safe finger foods such as teething biscuits and O-shaped cereal), supervise him during feedings (don't feed in a rush or in the car), and always have him sit upright when fed. Don't let him play with small objects, toys that have small parts, or containers of baby powder. Follow the age guidelines on toys — they're based on safety, not just educational value or developmental skill. Also use caution giving teething medication, as it could interfere with your baby's gag reflex. Choking is one of the most common causes of death in children, so every parent and caregiver should take a class in infant CPR.

What if I suspect that my baby has swallowed something?
It's common for babies to swallow small objects (such as coins), which usually pass through the intestines without causing harm. But if you notice excessive drooling or an inability to swallow, a dramatic decrease in appetite, or if your baby indicates he's feeling pain where an object may be stuck, call your baby's doctor or go to the emergency room immediately.

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