Weaning is one of the most common topics on any parent forum. Indeed it is one of the reasons why parents often book a first aid course with me in the first place. It is believed that at least 5 children everyday will attend the emergency department everyday following an episode of choking.
It is important to know that there is a difference between gagging and choking in babies. Babies will do a lot of retching when they are weaning. Their gag reflex is further forward on their tongue than that of a child / adult. When they actually choke they go silent. Gagging in a small child is a good thing however unnerving.
Signs & Symptoms
Change of colour to the face, initially going red, followed by pale and then blue.
Silence in a small baby.
Unconsciousness if left untreated.
How do I manage choking in a baby?
Get the baby out of their high chair / seat.
Put them face down on your lap supporting their head and airway with your hand.
Administer 5 back blows between their shoulder blades.
If this does not work adminster 5 chest thrusts, pushing down on their breast bone, between their nipples 5 times.
NEVER do abdominal thrusts on a baby as they can be quite traumatic.
Ask the child if they are choking. If they can’t answer you ask them to lean forward and support them across their chest.
Encourage them to cough and administer 5 back blows.
If this is unsuccessful, administer 5 abdominal thrusts – reach your arms around the child. Clench your fist, place it in between the navel and the sternum facing in toward the body. Reaching round with the other hand pull in and upwards under the diaphragm. Repeat 4 more times.
If unsuccessful, get someone to call 999 and keep repeating the cycles of 5.