CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE CHOKING KIND–ARE YOU PREPARED?
Ashley, our Nanny Recruiter began choking on some taffy candy in the office, and a discussion ensued about our mutual choking experiences. We discovered that just between Jenny and Ashley, seven lives have been saved by performing the Heimlich Maneuver! Ashley used it on her first day on the job as a live-in nanny in England!
Jenny observed a Mom jumping out a car ahead of her while at a street light, running to the back seat, grabbing her baby out of his car seat, flipping him upside down and pounding on his back right in the middle of the road. Watching this scenario made an impact on Jenny. Ashley witnessed a petite wife perform the maneuver in a restaurant on her husband twice her size. She failed twice, and with no one else coming to her rescue, she desperately slammed his front side into the table edge and he survived.
Jenny was with her son Carter, age one, eating chips in a Mexican restaurant when he began choking. With the picture of the roadside rescue in mind, she immediately flipped him upside down, and performed the Heimlich Maneuver to dislodge the chip. Another time, she was in a Moms’ group and the mother of a six month old was feeding apple slices to the infant,
who began choking. Jenny gave her step by step direction to perform the procedure, and their teamwork paid off.
Popcorn is one of the biggest dangers for young children. A three year old boy died soundless, in a movie theatre, while choking on popcorn with his family right next to him. Another incident was of a three year old girl, whom after choking on popcorn, had a piece of the popcorn lodged in her throat and had to have it surgically removed.
Any age child can choke. Jenny was tutoring a third grader who got a chicken nugget caught in his throat. Jenny quickly did the maneuver on him, and the nugget went flying across the room. When Mom arrived home, the boy said, “Mom, Jenny saved my life today!”
Another time, Jenny (who has 13 years of nanny experience) was nannying for a family. She and both parents were in the kitchen and the one year old, strapped in the high chair, began choking. The Dad was pulling off the tray and trying to unlatch the straps, but in his panic, was fumbling. Jenny grabbed the scissors, cut the straps, and did the maneuver, saving he child’s life.
Jenny won’t leave her children with a sitter until they’ve demonstrated the Heimlich Maneuver to her satisfaction. “You can train for it, but I don’t think anything can prepare you for that moment when you have to use it.”
Her own son Carter, age two, climbed onto her bathroom counter and opened a Tylenol bottle and other over the counter medications and she found 50 pills scattered over the floor when she discovered him. They rushed to the ER and kept him there for observation. “I had every inch of my house baby-proofed, but they still got into things,” Jenny shared.
While Jenny was taking a shower, Chase, age two, scooted a stool to the counter, climbed up to the medicine cabinet and open the “child-proof ” cough syrup bottle. They called Poison Control and rushed him to the ER, where they monitored him over the next six hours.
One of the boys sprayed a poisonous cleaning substance into his face after breaking the child-proof latch on the cabinet below the kitchen sink. “I love those babies, but that age from 18 months to age three, is really challenging,” Jenny groaned!
Consider these facts and cautions:
- A child’s trachea is the size of a drinking straw in diameter, which is why a popcorn kernel is so dangerous.
- Choking is the fourth leading cuse of unintentional death in children under five.
- Never leave a child unattended while they’re eating
- Meal and snack time need to be calm and unhurried.
- No eating while walking, playing or riding in the car.
- Children need to sit upright while eating and have sufficient teeth plus the muscular and developmental ability for the food chosen
- Cut food into small peices, cook or steam vegetables to soften them and cut hot dogs lengthwise and widthwise.
- Use only a small amount of peanut butter or cream cheese, as these foods can stick to the roof of the mouth and cause choking.
- Coins and small toy parts can be dangerous for babies and toddlers who are discovering the world through their mouth.
- Regularly review the Heimlich Maneuver