8 Helpful Ways to Prevent a Baby From Choking

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How to prevent baby from choking

– Tips & advice!

Mums have legitimate fears about babies being in danger of choking. Choking is a leading cause of injury and even death in children. Feeding should always be done carefully as many children have small airways that can be obstructed by liquid and solid food. This is because most children have not mastered chewing their food and most are still adjusting to eating especially when first encountering solid foods. With this seeming lack of ability to chew and swallow food, our darlings many not be able to expel or remove obstructions any solid object that may cause obstructions while feeding. Not only during feeding are babies in danger of choking. Most babies are still on the stage of exploring their environment. As they explore, many babies tend to put objects into their mouths which at some occasion cause infant choking. Solid and even liquid foods such as breastmilk are the most common cause of infant choking. However, small objects, small parts from toys and simply not chewing food properly or being distracted while feeding could cause baby to choke while eating.  But all these concerns on infant choking are preventable. Here are some ways to prevent infant choking:

  1. Slice and cut food.

Reducing solid foods into small portions are important in preventing choking. Doctors recommend not giving children younger than four years old any round, firm foods unless they have been cut into very small to tiny pieces. Cut hot dogs lengthwise and cut grapes into quarters. This changes the dangerous round shape that can block a young child’s throat.  Mums should always bear in mind that even small pieces of food can easily block a child’s small airways. According to the The Mayo Clinic, purees can be offered starting between four and six months old, but don’t try foods that need to be chewed until at least eight months old. Mums can place purees in reusable food pouches. Cherub Baby Australia has award-winning reusable food pouches for mums who would love to whip up homemade and healthy purees for baby.

2. Use transition feeders.

With mesh feeders, mums can start to introduce baby to new flavors, with a significantly reduced risk of choking. Some great foods to start with are soft foods like bananas, avocado, cooked peas, peaches, sweet potatoes and carrots. Cherub Baby has a Fresh Food Feeder, bubs can experience a BPA free and dishwasher safe feeder that provides opportunities for babies to explore sensory input of various flavours all around the mouth. The fresh food feeders are also helpful as most babies constantly seek things to put in the mouth and also helps relieve teething pain. The Cherub Baby Fresh Food Feeder supports the beginning of independent solid feeding as well as assists with sore inflamed gums when teething. Simply fill with fresh cut fruit, vegetables or ice and let baby begin to taste and chew whole foods without the risk of choking on large pieces of food. 

 3. Read warning labels.

Labels of caution and ‘do not use’ have always been placed for a reason. Before choosing a toy for baby, always check for choking warnings placed on labels. Carefully read warning labels on toys before giving them to young children. To check if a part of a toy is too small, use a small parts test device, which is available at many toy stores. Use only age-appropriate toys for baby. Don’t hesitate to ask store attendants which toys are appropriate for your little boy or girl. Reading labels should not focus on toys but also on food too.

4. Supervise feeding.

Cutting solid foods into smaller pieces is not enough. Mums should also supervise feeding time well. Mums, caregivers and teachers should not offer children younger than four years old foods that are associated with choking incidents. These are foods that are often round, hard, small, thick and sticky, smooth, compressible, dense, or slippery. Some examples of these foods are hot dogs and other meat sticks (whole or sliced into rounds), raw carrot rounds, whole grapes, hard candy, nuts, seeds, raw peas, hard pretzels, chips, peanuts, popcorn, rice cakes, marshmallows, spoonfuls of peanut butter, and chunks of meat larger than can be swallowed whole. Food for infants should be cut into pieces one-quarter inch or smaller; food for toddlers should be cut into pieces one-half inch or smaller to prevent choking. A supervising adult should watch for several common problems that typically occur when children in mid-infancy begin to feed themselves.

5. Avoid high risk food.

Doctors always always advise parents to carefully choose foods as much as toys. Saying that food should be subject to as much scrutiny as toys, doctors recommend looking for warning labels on foods that are known choking hazards, and to evaluate and monitor food for safety. Cook, grate or mash hard foods, particularly hard fruit and vegetables, such as carrots and apples. Avoid nuts as they are often causes of choking when not chewed properly. Corn chips, lollies and grapes can also be choking risks. Keep food pieces small. Until your child can chew well, give food in pieces smaller than a pea because anything bigger than this is hard for little children to eat safely. This is because their airways are small, and they’re still learning to chew and swallow properly.

6. Check appropriate toys.

Coins and toys account for most nonfood-related choking events among children. Purchasing toys for children with younger siblings poses a challenge to parents. They may find it difficult to meet the developmental play needs of the older child while addressing the safety needs of a younger sibling. Toys that are acceptable for older children sometimes have small or removable parts that can pose a choking risk to the younger brother or sister. Of all children’s products, latex balloons are the leading cause of choking death, and most of these fatalities are among children younger than 6 years.  In addition to conforming objects, round, ovoid, or cylindrical objects such as balls, marbles, and spherical toys or toy parts pose the greatest risk of choking death. When these objects are approximately the same diameter as a child’s upper airway, they can completely block the airway with a snug fit and are difficult to dislodge with rescue maneuvers. And don’t forget to check old toys for loose parts that your child may swallow.

7. Careful breastfeeding. 

To see an infant choking while breastfeeding can be frightening, especially if she is coughing or sputtering milk. There are a few reasons why infants choke while breastfeeding, including problems with positioning and taking the nipple. Infants who are lying flat can choke. Gagging, choking, strangling, gulping, coughing, or gasping while nursing are some of the signs that you may be having forceful-let-down, which is associated with having an oversupply or too much milk. Some moms notice that problem starts about three to six weeks after birth. Cradle the baby in your arms but lean backward on a reclined surface. Don’t forget to let the baby burp frequently because she may swallow air while nursing.

8. Be prepared for emergencies.

Knowing how to quickly and effectively clear a blocked airway and, if necessary, resuscitate your baby, may save his life. If your baby is choking, but still coughing effectively, let him cough  as it is the best way to clear an airway. Parents and caregivers should learn first aid for choking and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the event a choking episode occurs. Call your local hospital or search online to find classes for infant CPR and choking first aid. Also keep phone numbers for police, fire department, doctors, hospitals, and poison control next to the phone and stored in your contacts. Saving precious seconds by knowing how to respond in an emergency is important and could save a life. Lastly, don’t panic and maintain that presence of mind.

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