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Old Nov 20th, 2012, 20:38 PM   1
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Choking--intense fear (may be upsetting)

Hi everyone,

I have a friend of a friend who just lost her little 18 month old to choking on a dried kidney bean. She was just playing and that was it. Here is the link to the story, but I warn it's upsetting (even though they are people of amazing faith) :

Anyways, ever since I read this story I am just terrified of Alistair (my little guy who just turned 1 last week) choking. I've always been afraid of it but the past few days I'm just a wreck whenver it's time to feed him finger foods.

I have not taken infant or toddler CPR in years and I'm wanting to know what the exact best thing to do? I've read differing things online. Some say slap their backs, some say not to. In the case of this little girl, she was coughing a bit and the mom slapped her back. And that's another thing...I always thought coughing meant you weren't choking!

I'm just scared I wouldn't do the right thing or make it worse. I'm just so broken up about this little girl and it's been on my mind for days. I wish I could shake it but I'm just so sad for this family.

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Old Nov 21st, 2012, 00:38 AM   2
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I would take a paediatric CPR class to help reassure you - I 'think' it's that you put their chest across your forearm and do back slaps but I can't remember now....I remember the worst thing you can do is try and fish the food out as it often pushes it in further.

I work in swallowing disorders and just for info the anatomy is that your 2 vocal folds (which sit at the top of your airway) come together and vibrate when you're talking, close when you swallow and bang together when you cough.

When something goes the wrong way, you either get:
- aspiration - when food goes through the vocal folds and down in to the lungs (this usually happens when someone as a specific swallowing problem) and can cause chest infections
- coughing - if the food is trapped around the top of the airway, your protective mechanism is to cough and try to clear it, it could lead to choking or it could lead to clearing it.
- choke - if food gets stuck in an area in the throat where is stops airflow. True choking does stop you in your tracks.

I can only imagine how awful it must be for you friend but try and not let it dictate what you do. I remember Evan was a serial gagger on food at 1 yr, it was horrible. I would do all you can you help yourself if the situation ever arose and then you might feel a little better xx

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Old Nov 21st, 2012, 01:07 AM   3
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Im so sorry for your friends loss. What a horrible thing to happen. My thoughts are with her and her family.

Paige choked about a month ago. She was unable to cough as her airway was totally blocked. I wasnt sure what to do, but I knelt down and put Paige over my knee so she was hanging upside down at a 45 degree or so angle. I thought it couldnt hurt to have gravity on our side! I did hit her back when she was like that. After about 45 seconds, i managed to dislodge it and she was fine afterwards... It was the scariest moment if my life, and i cant stress enough how important it is to learn up on how to deal with different situations.. You never know when you will need to use it!

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Old Nov 21st, 2012, 04:40 AM   4
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I just read your friend's story - just so tragic and overwhelmingly heartbreaking. What a beautiful little girl I am so glad their faith is carrying them through such an awful time in their lives.

There are also lots of videos on YouTube showing you how to use back blows properly.

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Old Nov 21st, 2012, 05:02 AM   5
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Gosh, how unbelievably sad

I did a infant CPR course when Holly was a few months old, but I can't remember any of it. Since then she hasn't choked, but did fall over with a toy in her mouth, which got lodged in her throat. Thankfully the toy had enough exposed for me to be able to pull it out, although it took some doing and took aound a minute. I think I would panic if she was properly choking. I do remember they told us to do the technique that has been mentioned above, so I would do that. It certainly doesn't harm to do a course. Weaning them is scary anyway as their gag reflex seems a lot like choking, even though it isn't. I wouldn't let the fear stop you giving finger foods though.

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Old Nov 21st, 2012, 05:02 AM   6
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When my DD was about 10 months old she found a plastic tie-wrap from somewhere - god knows where it had come from, must have fallen on the ground when we unwrapped something at some point - and DD was crawling like a little tearaway at that age so she obviously found it somewhere.
Anyway she put it in her mouth and it got lodged in her throat and started choking on it. She couldn't breathe.
DH just sort of grabbed her and did a sort of half-upside down, half back-slap, half heimlich manoeuvre on her. He had no idea what he was doing but thank god it worked. It came out. It was all curled up into a plastic ball so that was obviously why it had gotten stuck.
I definitely think that going on a baby/child first aid training course might help with your fears OP.

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Old Nov 21st, 2012, 05:36 AM   7
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That is so sad I really admire her parents for being so strong.

It's scary how easily these things can happen & I hope you feel more relaxed after doing some research/attending a first aid class. xx

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Old Nov 21st, 2012, 06:12 AM   8
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So sorry for your friend
JJ choked on a plastic crisp at a playgroup (shaped like a small pringle). It really shook me up. Turning him over and giving back blows didnt work (although Ive had no training), so I yanked the thing out with my fingers. I MUST go on a first aid course, threads like this remind me. It was the worst feeling in the world and I had a good outcome. I am still ultra vigilant to this day xx

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Old Nov 21st, 2012, 06:27 AM   9
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So sorry for your friend, what a tragic thing to happen.

Coughing means that it is only a partial obstruction and air is still able to get through the airway, but it's possible for the object to shift and become a full obstruction or swell to block the airway in the case of something that absorbs water, like kidney beans.

I would definitely recommend taking a paediatric first aid course for your own peace of mind. If you're in the UK, children's centres sometimes run free or cheap ones. Alternatively you can book one through a proper training company, which can cost £70-£120 but is definitely worth the money.

These are the most up-to-date guidelines that I was taught in my recent paediatric first aid course:

For a baby, first hold them along your forearm or lap with head lower than chest. Give 5 back slaps between the shoulder blades, checking the floor after each one to see if the object has been coughed up. If that isn't successful, flip baby onto their back with head lower than chest and use two fingers between the nipples to give five sharp thrusts (always on the chest, never the abdomen for a baby), checking after each one to see if the object has been dislodged.

For an older child, first encourage the child to cough. If that doesn't clear the obstruction, do the back slaps with the child leant over your knee or bent forwards with head lower than chest. If that isn't successful, kneel or stand behind the child with both arms around their waist. Make a fist with one hand and place it just above the belly button with your thumb inwards. Use your other hand to grasp your fist and thrust sharply inwards and upwards. Do this five times, checking to see if the object has been dislodged.

Keep repeating the cycle of 5 back blows and 5 chest thrusts and dial 999 if the treatment isn't working.

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Old Nov 21st, 2012, 08:35 AM   10
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That is awful. My son has choked a couple of times, thankfully my husband has been around and put him on forearm with head below chest and backslaps have worked thank god.

I know a paramedic that had a 2 and half year old die from choking on a grape. It's made me so paranoid about chopping up grapes tomatoes, anything with a skin.

Would also recommend the first aid courses. We did one last year and have forgotten quite a bit so am thinking of doing another. Thanks freckleonear for info

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