The holidays offer opportunities for festivities and gatherings and lots of activity and celebrating – usually with food and drink! The setting is one of laughter and joy, yet there is an increased risk to safety especially with children. As attention is stretched in different directions and time to slow down to eat and drink is non-existent during playtime with friends and family, there is an increased risk of choking.
It’s important to know how to best handle the situation when a child, or adult, is choking. For mild choking, the individual can still talk, is coughing and breathing. In this situation, encourage the coughing until the passageway clears itself.
Do not offer water or slap the back! Many think that slapping the back assists in dislodging or opening the passageway. In fact, the opposite is true, if there’s an obstruction, it can be lodged deeper. So no slapping or water, please!
For severe choking where breathing is impaired, think 5&5 – 5 back blows between the shoulder blades with the heel of your hand. Then give 5 abdominal thrusts.
Repeat if needed. And, always, if you feel their life is in danger, call 911!