First aid for choking toddler and adults
What is Choking ?
Choking is an obstruction of the pharynx by a foreign body. Foreign bodies found in the throat are usually fish bones, some pieces of food, artificial teeth, coin, buttons, pins etc.
Usually they are accidently swallowed. A child may swallow things during play. Unless treated promptly the victim can die of asphyxia.
Adults usually choke on food, children also on foreign bodies such as coins, buttons and boiled sweets.
How do you know that a toddler is choking
The child chokes, coughs violently and possibly his face becomes blue. He cannot breathe or speak.
First aid for choking toddlers
A very small baby can be held upside down and smacked on the back.
For an older child, lie him over your knee or over a chair and slap him hard on the back with flat of the hand between the shoulder blades. This should dislodge the object and make him cough it up. If this does not work at once, try the Heimlich method :
Get behind the child and place your arms around his waist.
Clench one of your hands into a first over the child’s stomach between the naval and the rib cage.
Grip the clenched first with the other hand.
Press the hands strongly against the abdominal wall, pressing slightly upwards. This sharp pressure drives the air our of the lungs suddenly and carries the obstructing object up through the windpipe.
First aid for choking adults
If you choke yourself is very difficult to explain what is wrong simply because your cannot speak. Point to your throat repeatedly – someone will soon get the message.
Should an adult choke on something, decide if he is simply coughing and spluttering. If so
Slap him on the back if he wants help, but otherwise leave his cough reflexes to cope – they usually do.
Get him to try to breathe slowly and deeply. This reduces spasm of the windpipe and will release the choking object.
If the person is so obstructed that he is going blue – Open his mouth to see if you can hook out the obstruction with your finger. It is usually too far back for this, but it is worth looking quickly.
Get him on the floor and turn him on his side.
Slap him firmly on the back between the shoulder blades. This will almost always dislodge the foreign body.
If this does not work, use the Heimlich method.
First aid if there is a fishbone in the throat:
If the person is choking really seriously, treat as adult choking.
If not :
Do not try to reach into the throat to pick the bone out.
Do not give cotton wool sandwiches or other bulky remedies to swallow. Neither of these procedures works.
It is often difficult to know if you have in fact swallowed a bone or not as fish-bones often simply scratch the lining of the throat yet give an impression of being stuck there.
If all is well after an hour or two, the chances are it was simply a scratch. If things seem to be getting worse, go to hospital so that a doctor can look down your throat.