Saturday, March 15, 2008

How can you prevent Choking?

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According to University of Oklahoma police department;

-Cut food into small pieces.
-Chew food slowly and thoroughly, especially if wearing dentures.
-Avoid laughing and talking during chewing and swallowing.
-Avoid excessive intake of alcohol before and during meals.

Infants and Children:
-Keep marbles, beads, thumbtacks, and other small objects out of their reach and prevent them from walking, running, or playing with food or toys in their mouths.

Choking Prevention In Young Children

Young children can choke on virtually any object. Tragically, children have died from choking on things such as small balls, tiny toys, balloons and plants. For this reason, it is important to be aware of how to prevent choking:
· Hot dogs, nuts, peanuts, peanut butter, popcorn, carrots and grapes should not be given to children less than 4 years of age. In older children hot dogs should be sliced lengthwise first.
· Children should eat or drink only when sitting upright, and not while lying down. Also children should not be forced to feed, especially when they are sleepy.
· Children should never be allowed to eat or drink while playing or running around.
· Young children should always be supervised by an adult during meals or snacks, and even playtime.
· Toys your child plays with should be labeled appropriate for his or her age, and keep older children's toys away from any young child.
· If you have had visitors for a party or a dinner, remember to always immediately remove all foods, beverages or other objects potentially dangerous to a young child.
· It is important that your child's play and sleep areas are free of small objects.
· Latex balloons are pretty and often tempting to give as a gift or use as a decoration; But they pose a great choking hazard. Young children should not be given nor be in contact with balloons at all.
· Jewelry can easily be swallowed or inhaled. For this reason children should not wear any earrings, rings nor any other jewelry items before the age of 5.
· Keep coins and other small objects such as buttons, toothpicks, paper clips. plants etc(and any other household or office item that can be a potential choking threat) away from young children at all times.
· When visiting a friend’s or neighbor’s house or on vacation, make sure your child is not exposed to any choking hazards.
· It is a good idea to learn to give first aid to a choking child just in case...but prevention in the first place is best.
Choking Prevention
In addition to food, there are household items that can become choking hazards. You can help ensure a safe environment by keeping these items away from infants and young children:
· Latex balloons
· Coins
· Marbles
· Toys with small parts
· Toys that can be compressed to fit entirely into a child's mouth
· Small balls
· Pen or marker caps
· Small button-type batteries
· Medicine syringes
Choking can be prevented. Before your child begins to crawl, get down on his level and look for dangerous items. If you have older children, pay extra attention to their toys and be sure your younger child can't get into them. In addition to thoroughly childproofing your home, keep this list of choking prevention tips in mind:
· Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) (basic life support).
· Be aware that balloons pose a choking risk to children of any age.
· Keep the following foods from children until 4 years of age:
o Hot dogs
o Nuts and seeds
o Chunks of meat or cheese
o Whole grapes
o Hard, gooey, or sticky candy
o Popcorn
o Chunks of peanut butter
o Raw vegetables
o Raisins
o Chewing gum
· Insist that children eat at the table, or at least while sitting down. They should never run, walk, play or lie down with food in their mouths.
· Cut food for infants and young children into pieces no larger than one-half inch and teach them to chew their food well.
· Supervise mealtime for infants and young children.
· Be aware of older children's actions. Many choking incidents occur when older brothers or sisters give dangerous foods, toys or small objects to a younger child.
· Avoid toys with small parts and keep other small household items out of reach of infants and young children.
· Follow the age recommendations on toy packages. Age guidelines reflect the safety of a toy based on any possible choking hazard as well as the child's physical and mental abilities at various ages.
· Check under furniture and between cushions for small items that children could find and put in their mouths.
· Do not let infants and young children play with coins
Choking prevention! Choking -- what are the risks?
What types of food can cause choking?
Dangerous foods can be grouped in four categories:

Crisp, crunchy foods
These include peanuts and other nuts, raw carrots and celery, popcorn kernels, sunflower seeds, fruits with pits, dried peas and beans. These foods can cause a severe coughing fit and end up in the bronchi (breathing tubes for the lungs), causing wheezing and eventually pneumonia.

Don’t introduce these foods to children until they are at least three years old and can chew and swallow crusty bread and raw apple and pear without coughing. Never give unpopped popcorn kernels to a toddler.

Round and rubbery foods

These include hot dogs, whole grapes and gel candies (such as “Fruit Poppers”), which are the most deadly foods. They can become stuck between the vocal cords and completely block breathing.

Cut hot dogs and grapes lengthwise and into small pieces until children are at least four years old and can chew and swallow steak without coughing. Avoid gel candies, which are banned but still available in certain stores in Canada.

Gum and hard candies
These can be inhaled and get stuck between the vocal cords.

Don’t give children gum or hard candies until they are at least five years of age and can understand the danger.

Fish bones (and other small bones)
Small and fine bones can become stuck higher in the throat and cause severe pain.
Carefully pick out bones before serving fish and poultry.
How can I keep my child safe at mealtimes?
Children are less likely to choke if they chew food thoroughly before swallowing. Teach children to sit quietly during meals and always supervise them while they eat. These activities will put your child at high risk for a choking episode:
· Talking, laughing or walking, running, jumping with food in the mouth
· Unsupervised snacking
· Incomplete chewing
· Tipping chairs backwards
Which non-food items cause choking?
It’s not only foods that pose a choking hazard. Common non-food risks include:

Small hard objects
Examples of these include plastic toy parts, metal hardware and fishing tackle. They can cause coughing fits and end up in the bronchi.

Teach children not to put non-food objects in their mouths and not to hold them between their lips or teeth. Keep these objects out of reach of young children.


These are the most common foreign bodies. Coins can become stuck in the esophagus (swallowing tube) and can cause pain and often drooling and retching.

Teach children to keep coins out of their mouths. Never store coins in open bowls or containers that are within reach of toddlers.

Disc batteries
Like coins, disc batteries are tempting to young children. However, they are much more dangerous because they cause severe internal burns and even death.

Keep toys and electronics with removable disc batteries away from young children. Store unused or discarded batteries where children cannot find them.

Deflated balloons can become stuck between the vocal cords and completely stop a child’s breathing. Keep deflated balloons away from all young children.

Dishwasher powder and caustic liquids
Most household cleaners and hair straightners or relaxers can cause severe burns of the swallowing and breathing passages. Not all are marked with warning labels. Keep all caustic substances out of reach of children.
How can I prevent choking?
Remember choking deaths in children are mainly caused by foods and small objects such as gel candies, hot dogs, grapes, balloons, disc batteries and handfuls of nuts. Follow these simple steps to prevent choking:
· Keep a careful eye on the child during meals and snacks
· Introduce new food textures slowly and carefully
· Check for small items of any type that a child may choke on
· Choose toys that are labeled appropriate for the age of your child
· Teach older siblings NOT to give small items or toys to younger children
· Know how to give first aid to a choking child
If you suspect that a child has choked on an object, please explain that to medical personnel as soon as possible. Bring an example of the foreign body if possible. A Heimlich maneuver is necessary only if someone is unable to speak clearly and is turning blue.
The Bill #HR 2773 - Food Choking Prevention Act of 2003
Childhood Choking Prevention Tips:
1. Keep the following items away from infants and young children: Latex balloons, Coins, Marbles, Toys with small parts, Toys that can be compressed to fit entirely into a child's mouth, Small balls, Pen or marker caps, Small button-type batteries, Medicine syringes.
2. Before a child begins to crawl, get down on his level and look for dangerous items. If you have older children, pay extra attention to their toys and be sure your younger child can't get into them.
3. Be aware that balloons pose a choking risk to children of any age.
4. Keep the following foods from children until 4 years of age: Hot dogs, Nuts and seeds, Chunks of meat or cheese, Whole grapes, (Hard, gooey, or sticky) candy, Popcorn, Chunks of peanut butter, Raw vegetables, Raisins, Chewing gum.
5. Insist that children eat at the table, or at least while sitting down. They should never run, walk, play or lie down with food in their mouths.

Food preparation safety tips
Here are some suggestions to modify potentially hazardous foods to reduce the risk of choking and make them safer for children:
· Remove the skin from hotdogs, sausages, and frankfurters; cut them lengthwise, then cut them into small pieces or thin strips.
· Chop, grind, or dice meats.
· Chop nuts and grind seeds finely.
· Dice or grate raw vegetables.
· Steam, then slice or dice vegetables.
· Remove the pit, then dice fruits like cherries, apricots, and peaches.
· Spread peanut butter thinly over crackers or wheat bread.
· Blend peanut butter with applesauce or jam before serving.
· Serve bow-tie pretzels instead of pretzel sticks or potato chips.
· Remove the bones from fish or serve fish pieces that have been boned.
· Include plenty of liquids such as water, milk, or juice at meal and snack times and encourage children to sip in between mouthfuls
Prevention of Choking
1. Avoid small hard pieces of food (as listed above)
2.Cook food and cut it into small pieces
3. Don't let your infant run around with food in the mouth: encourage them to sit at the table while eating.
4. Model the kind of behavior you want for your child. I.e. sit at the table until you have finished eating (if you can!) and avoid putting pins etc in your own mouth.
5. Have a crawl around on the floor with your baby and check out potential choking hazards. Get rid of these!
6. Store batteries and beads etc where your child cannot get them
7. Tell your older children about the sorts of things that can cause choking for their young sibling.

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