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Child Health » How to Help a Choking Child?

Children, particularly those between the ages of 1 and 5, often put objects in their mouth. This is a normal part of how they explore the world. Some small objects, like marbles and beads, are just the right size to get stuck in a child’s airway and cause choking. The best way to avoid this is to make sure those small objects like marbles and beads are kept out of your child’s reach.
A child that is choking is extremely frightful. This is due to the fact that a child's airway is smaller than an adult’s, making it easier for food or any other thing from lodging in the airway preventing air in or out.

It is a common believe that when a child is choking, he/she should be hit on the back. However, the American Heart Association does not approve this. Evidences have shown that hitting someone on the back that is choking causes the food or the object to go further down the trachea making it harder to resolve the situation.

Some common indications that something is blocking the child's throat include coughing a lot, inability to speak, cry, or breath, face turning bluish, or in the worst case, the child passes out.

The following precautions are recommended to help a choking child:

• Stand behind the child. Wrap your arms around the child's waist.

• Make a fist with one hand, thumb side in. Place your fist just below the chest and slightly above the navel.

• Grab your fist with the other hand.
• Press into the abdomen with a quick upward push. This helps to make the object or food come out of the child's mouth.
• Repeat this inward and upward thrust until the piece of food or object comes out.
• Once the object comes out, take your child to the doctor. A piece of the object can still be in the lung. Only a doctor can tell you if your child is OK.

Avoid foods like apples, hot dogs, chips, hard candy, etc., that can become easily lodged in the throat/trachea for the child. Also, do not let the child run around with these types of foods in their mouths. Children get so occupied with playing that sometimes they are not paying attention to the food in their mouth. Eventually this often leads to a choking child. However, providing the child the first and timely medical support can save his life.

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