Choking Signs in Infants
Emergency healthcare providers often have pediatric advanced life support (PALS) training as well as pediatric emergency assessment, recognition and stabilization (PEARS). However, the majority of parents do not have the advantage of having this type of training.
For many new parents, one of the most common unknowns is how to recognize if your child is choking.
Infants make lots of noise, and it is sometimes quite difficult to tell when a noise is a sign of an emergency. Here are a few ways to tell if your infant is choking. If you notice any of the following, especially while your child is eating, seek emergency medical help immediately.
1. The infant’s face becomes darker and/or develops a blue color.
2. The infant cries, but there is no sound.
3. The infant appears agitated and begins moving around.
4. The infant appears to not be able to breathe.
The following are five tips to assist in the administration of first aid to a choking baby:
A. Assess the situation. If a baby is not able to to cry or cough, something may be blocking the airway. If the baby is coughing or gagging, the baby’s airway may only be partially blocked. In this situation, it is important to continue to let the baby cough in the hopes of dislodging the object.
B. Call 911. If you’re unsure about what to do with a choking baby; call 911 or have a friend or family member call 911 for you. Time is imperative so the sooner you call 911, the sooner the infant can receive adequate advanced first aid and treatment.
C. Use back blows. To give back blows to the infant, place the baby face-up on one forearm and cradle the back of the head with the same hand. Next, place the other hand and forearm on the baby’s front, use your fingers and thumb to hold open the baby’s jaw and turn the baby over face-down on your forearm. Then, with the heel of your hand, give five firm back blows between the baby’s shoulder blades.
D. Perform chest thrusts. To perform chest thrusts, place your thumb and fingers to hold a baby’s jaw open and keep the baby between your forearms to ensure maximum head and neck support. Next, place the tips of two or three fingers in the center of the baby’s chest and push straight down on the chest approximately 1.5 inches. Administer five chest thrusts, and allow the chest to come back to its normal position after each thrust.
E. Repeat 5 back blows and 5 chest thrusts until the object is removed or emergency medical personnel have arrived.
CPR and First Aid are wonderful skills for parents to learn while gaining confidence needed to administer chest compressions and rescue breaths to their child or infant in the event of an unexpected choking emergency. These classes allow parents to practice CPR techniques while gaining real-world insights from medical personnel.
To find out more about upcoming Infant and Child CPR and First Aid classes, call us at 210-380-5344.
Resolutions for New Year's
2021 has arrived, and there are various New Year’s resolutions you can make to keep you and your family healthy and well in the new year. A few of these resolutions include the following:
1. Become CPR and Basic First Aid-Certified
Participation in a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) class usually only takes a few hours. However, the benefits are ongoing and can last a lifetime. During a CPR class, you will learn how to give proper chest compression and ventilation or breath, use an automated external defibrillator (AED), assist conscious and unconscious choking victims and more. Finally, upon successful completion of the CPR class, you will receive a CPR certification card that remains valid for two years.
In addition to CPR classes, basic first aid courses are also available. A basic first aid class covers a wide spectrum of medical emergencies, including: allergic reactions, identifying stroke and cardiac arrest, bone and muscle injuries, identification and treatment of hypothermia, heat trauma, and heat stroke, seizures, and the identification and treatment of burns. Similar in class duration to a CPR class, a basic first aid course typically takes just a few hours to finish. Upon completion of a basic first aid class, you will then earn a basic first aid certification card.
2. Prepare Healthy Meals
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers several tips to help families prepare healthy meals. For example:
A. Select fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables contain nutrients, minerals and vitamins that support a healthy diet.
B. Choose whole grains as opposed to refined varieties. Foods labeled with “100% whole grain” or “100% whole wheat” are healthier alternatives to foods that contain refined grains.
C. Add fat-free or low-fat milk or yogurt to your diet. Fat-free or low-fat milk or yogurt contains calcium and other nutrients and has less calories than whole milk.
D. Enjoy lean protein. Pork, chicken, beef, eggs and other foods high in lean protein will help you satisfy your hunger cravings.
E. Find healthy alternatives to high-calorie cream sauces and gravies. In order to avoid these high-calorie gravies or sauces when preparing meals; instead, use products with healthy alternatives such as low-fat parmesan cheese or a squeeze of lemon.
A proper combination of foods and nutrition will allow you to remain healthy in 2021 and beyond. Best of all, research shows that following a whole-foods-based diet may significantly reduce heart disease risk factors, body weight, and blood sugar levels, as well as decrease your risk of certain diseases, such as type 2 diabetes.
3. Get More Quality Sleep
Getting adequate sleep is an important part of one's overall health. Unfortunately, sleep deprivation can result in serious consequences. For example, lack of sleep may increase your risk of weight gain, heart disease, and depression.
There are many factors which contribute to sleep deprivation. Consequently, it’s important to focus on a schedule and lifestyle that accommodates sleep quantity and quality.
Additionally, decreasing screen time before bed, reducing light pollution in your bedroom, reducing caffeine intake, and getting to bed at a reasonable hour are some simple ways to improve sleep hygiene.
2021 has just begun so set a New Year’s resolution. Take advantage of any of the aforementioned New Year’s resolution and place you and your family in position to enjoy a happy and healthy 2021.
Dr. Tracy A. Jones is an American Heart Association, ASHI, and American Red Cross Master Program Trainer, Instructor, & AHA Faculty Member located in San Antonio, Texas.