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Occasionally, we come across videos circulating around social media which shows mothers in despair as their baby chokes.
It’s a scary situation to face in any case and if you have a baby, it’s good to know about the first-aid basics including how to help if they are choking. Knowing what to do in the case of a choking baby can help dislodge what’s causing the obstruction and ultimately save the baby’s life!
A baby may choke if their airway is partially or completely blocked. This happens as babies have smaller airways that are prone to becoming easily obstructed.
It is very crucial to act fast as the obstruction of the airways cuts off the oxygen that reaches the brain which could result in brain damage or death in a few minutes.
Some infants with certain conditions like developmental delays, neuromuscular disorders and swallowing disorders may be more at risk of choking than others.
The main thing to take note of is to act fast and call emergency (999 in Malaysia) or have someone call them immediately.
If the baby is able to breathe, cry and cough a lot, do not resort to carrying out first aid as strong coughs and cries can aid in clearing their throat to clear out the obstruction.
However, if you notice that your baby is facing difficulties in breathing and is unable to make noise, then proceed with the steps below right away!
There’s a risk of choking when they have food and it’s important to keep an eye on them during their mealtimes. Some food that’s not recommended for a young baby or child to have are:
Children often put objects in their mouth, especially those aged 1-5 years, as a means of exploring what it is. It’s important to ensure they are out of your child’s reach to avoid an undesirable emergency from taking place. Some examples of such hazards are:
Note: do not do the Heimlich manoeuvre (abdominal thrusts) on your baby in any case. This is not suitable to be used on an infant as their organs are in the development stage and are fragile. Squeezing their tummies may cause damage to their internal organs.
Being aware of first-aid procedures is very important so that you will be more ready to deal with any emergencies that may pop up. Yes, it’s very scary to think of these scenarios happening to you but knowing how to deal with one can really help. So, keep yourself well informed at all times! It can potentially save lives! Even after the baby recovers from a choking episode, be sure to bring him/her to a doctor!
https://www.fairview.org/patient-education/511205EN Choking First Aid (Infant, Up to Age 1 year)
https://www.healthline.com/health/baby/baby-choking#choking-hazards How to Help a Choking Baby
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/infant-choking/art-20044661 Infant choking: How to keep your baby safe
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/baby/first-aid-and-safety/first-aid/how-to-stop-a-child-from-choking/ How to stop a child from choking
https://www.redcross.org.uk/first-aid/learn-first-aid-for-babies-and-children/choking-baby Learn first aid for a baby who is choking
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/282951279_Choking_among_Infants_and_Young_Children Choking Among Infants and Young Children
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