PSA: Parents Listen Up!

Your kids safety is at risk!

Prevention

Prevention is key. The best way to prevent choking is to keep small toys and objects out of reach of your small toddlers.

Clean up!

Take any small thing that could be considered a hazard for choking and put them in a safe place out of reach of your small ones.

Choking hazards

Get on your hands and knees and check the floors, under rugs, and within grabbing range (on shelves, in cushions, under sheets, etc.) for small parts or items that could pose a choking hazard, including:


  • balloons
  • toys with small parts and doll accessories
  • coins
  • safety pins
  • small office supplies (paperclips, tacks, etc.)
  • marbles and small balls
  • nails, bolts, and screws
  • erasers
  • batteries
  • broken crayons
  • jewelry (rings, earrings, pins, etc.)
  • small caps for bottles, including chocolate syrup, pancake syrup, and soda (kids may try to lick the sweet drops out of the caps, which can become lodged in the airway)

Signs of Choking

The universal sign for choking is hands clutched to the throat. If the person doesn't give the signal, look for these indications:

  • Inability to talk
  • Difficulty breathing or noisy breathing
  • Inability to cough forcefully
  • Skin, lips and nails turning blue or dusky
  • Loss of consciousness

In Case of an emergency...


the Red Cross recommends a "five-and-five" approach to delivering first aid:


  • Give 5 back blows. First, deliver five back blows between the person's shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.
  • Give 5 abdominal thrusts. Perform five abdominal thrusts (also known as the Heimlich maneuver).
  • Alternate between 5 blows and 5 thrusts until the blockage is dislodged.
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To clear the airway of a choking infant younger than age 1:

  • Assume a seated position and hold the infant facedownon your forearm, which is resting on your thigh.
  • Thump the infant gently but firmly five times on the middle of the back using the heel of your hand. The combination of gravity and the back blows should release the blocking object.
  • Hold the infant faceup on your forearm with the head lower than the trunk if the above doesn't work. Using two fingers placed at the center of the infant's breastbone, give five quick chest compressions.
  • Repeat the back blows and chest thrusts if breathing doesn't resume. Call for emergency medical help.
  • Begin infant CPR if one of these techniques opens the airway but the infant doesn't resume breathing.

If the child is older than age 1, give abdominal thrusts only.