Prevent Choking

Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Robbi, Lynn

Choking occurs when the upper airway is blocked by food or other objects, preventing air to pass normally. Simple choking can cause the afflicted person to cough, but a complete blockage of airways is considered an emergency case requiring fast action. Otherwise death is inevitable. Prompt medical action can effectively save the life of a choking person.

There are many factors that can cause choking. But, it all boils down to the fact that an object is stuck in the upper airway. An adult may experience choking if the food is not chewed properly, or if the person is talking or laughing with food in the mouth. Older adults have higher choking risks if they drink alcohol, take drugs, or are suffering from certain illnesses including Parkinson's disease. On the other hand, young children, especially aged below 5, are more prone to choking because of their habit to put small objects such as toys, coins, or hard candies in their mouths, which can lodge in their throat.

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Symptoms of Choking

A person who is experiencing choking may exhibit the following behaviors:

  1. 1
    Clutching the throat - universal sign for choking
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  2. 2
    Sign language using the hands
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  3. 3
    Inability to talk
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  4. 4
    Coughing or gagging
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  5. 5
    Wheezing
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  6. 6
    Loss of consciousness
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  7. 7
    Cyanosis or ashen look
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In case of a choking infant who does not yet have the faculty of language, the following may be observed:

  1. 1
    Difficulty in breathing
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  2. 2
    Weak cry
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  3. 3
    Weak cough
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Choking Hazards for Children

Foods

  1. 1
    Candies (hard and gel types)
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  2. 2
    Grapes
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  3. 3
    Hot dogs
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  4. 4
    Nuts and popcorn
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  5. 5
    Veggie and fruit chunks
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Household Items

  1. 1
    Marbles
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  2. 2
    Button-style batteries
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  3. 3
    Coins
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  4. 4
    Jewelery
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  5. 5
    Pieces of latex balloons
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  6. 6
    Small toy parts
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Choking in children can be prevented by following these steps:

  1. 1
    Allow children to play with appropriate toys recommended for their age
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    Some toys are made of small pieces that can be disassembled. A single tiny part that get into the hands of a 3-year old toddler can be a choking hazard.
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  2. 2
    Keep watch of children during their playtime
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    If you have older children, separate their toys from the playthings of the younger children. Teach the older ones to be responsible in putting away their toys after using them.
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  3. 3
    Clean all the clutter from the floor and other accessible surfaces where little children can pick up tiny objects or food items to put in their mouths
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    Inspect the play area and scan for hazardous items before letting children to play in. Keep choking hazards out of children's reach.
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  4. 4
    Reshape edible items
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    Cut larger pieces of food lengthwise, then slice them further into small pieces to make chewing easier for both adults and children. It is safer to serve food in bite-size, quarters, chopped, or shredded form than presenting them in chunks or big slices.
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  5. 5
    Teach children how to take small bites and chew food thoroughly before swallowing
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    1. Demonstrate the proper way of biting, chewing, and swallowing, explaining their importance in preventing choking episodes.
    2. Discourage children from eating hurriedly.
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  6. 6
    Feed children while they are in a stationary position
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    Avoid giving them food when they are moving, running around, playing, or during road trips.
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  7. 7
    Encourage children to drink liquid alternately with chewing solid food
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    But, they shouldn't be allowed to chew and drink at the same time.
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  8. 8
    Discourage children not to speak with food in the mouth
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    Teach them to wait until all the food items had been chewed and swallowed before saying a word.
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  9. 9
    Learn how to give first aid to a choking victim.
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Tips, Tricks and Warning:

  • Avoid feeding a crying or laughing baby as food may lodge in the throat.
  • Remove the bones and other hard parts of a fish and chicken before serving them to young children.
  • Do not allow small kids to feed a baby.
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Article Info

Categories : Safety

Recent edits by: Robbi, Nerissa Avisado

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