Would you know what to do if your child started choking on a strawberry during a picnic in the park? Or if your neighbor knocked at your door with her unresponsive toddler in her arms?
Childhood presents its own set of first aid emergencies to contend with — occasionally life-threatening, usually less serious, all potentially terrifying for family and friends.
We all want to help, yet surveys show that many of us either don't know what to do or are too fearful of getting something wrong. But knowing what steps to take in an emergency can improve a child's chances of making a quick recovery — and could even save a life.
Here's how you can save your child's life:
As your baby starts eating solid foods and playing with small objects, they may be at risk of choking. This advice will help you know what to do if a baby aged one or under chokes.
What to do
Slap it out:
- Lie the baby face down along your thigh and support their head.
- Give up to five back blows between the shoulder blades, checking to see if there is anything in the baby's mouth afterwards.
Squeeze it out:
- Using two fingers, give up to five sharp chest thrusts on the lower part of the breastbone. Check the mouth afterwards.
- Call 911 for emergency help, taking the baby with you to make the call.
- Repeat slapping and squeezing steps until help arrives.
A choking child may be able to clear a blocked airway by coughing.If they can't, you will need to help them immediately.
WHAT TO DO
- Ask if the victim is choking. If they can breathe, they may be able to clear their own throat — if not, they need help.
Cough it out:
- Encourage them to cough and remove any obvious obstruction from their mouth.
Slap it out:
- Ask them to lean forwards, supporting their upper body with one hand.
- With the heel of your hand, administer up to five sharp blows between their shoulder blades, checking to see if there's anything in their mouth afterwards.