Choking hazard in babies is dangerous and parents should be cautious to try and avoid it. Know whether can babies choke on puffs or not below!
What is Choking?
Choking is when an object completely/partially blocks the throat, making it difficult to breathe. It is a leading cause of injury and death among infants. Babies are highly vulnerable to choking. Their airway is very small and easily obstructed. Moreover, their inexperienced mouth hasn’t mastered the ability to chew and swallow food. Their small stature may prevent them from producing a forceful cough that can dislodge the stuck object from their throat.
Keeping this in mind, the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) recommends that:
“Children are ready for ‘finger food’ when they can sit up unsupported and bring objects to their mouth, and the food given to them should be soft, easy to swallow, and cut into small pieces.”
Can Babies Choke On Puffs
Puffs fulfill 2 out of these three criteria; while they are initially hard, they dissolve quickly in the baby’s mouth. They can still pose a choking hazard if the baby tries to eat too many at the same time or if the puffs are stale, making them harder to swallow.
Foods That Are Common Choking Hazards
Some of the food items that are common choking hazards to babies are listed below:
- Nuts or seeds
- Round hard candy
- Spoonfuls of peanut butter (the thick, sticky consistency is a risk)
- Hard or raw fruits and vegetables
- Large chunks of meat or cheese.
Other household items frequently blamed for infant choking are coins, batteries, marbles, magnets, balloons, pebbles, and toys that are small, breakable, or have tiny parts like eyes, wheels, buttons, or screws that are easily loosened.
What To Do When Baby Is Choking
Based on the degree of airway obstruction, the severity of choking varies.
The infant cries and attempts to dislodge the object with forceful coughs. Monitor closely if the condition worsens call for emergency medical assistance.
The Baby’s lips and skin turns blue, has an inability to cry or make any noise. The baby might even face difficulty in breathing and the ribs and chest pull inward.
The baby might produce soft or high-pitched sounds while inhaling. If the baby is flailing their arms or seems to appear distressed/ panicked, it might be due to choking. Another common sign of severe choking is if the baby is not coughing forcefully or if there is no strong cry.
Start Choking Relief Procedure/First Aid
Do not try to dislodge the object with your fingers, as this can exacerbate the situation. Instead, follow the below tricks and tips.
1. Administer Back Blows
Hold the child face down, along your forearm. Position their head lower than their body. Using the same hand, hold their mouth open. With the heel of your free hand, deliver five quick, forceful blows to the baby’s back, between the shoulder blades.
2. Perform Chest Thrusts
If the object isn’t dislodged, turn the baby face-up, holding them in your lap and supporting the head. Place two fingers in the middle of the chest, below the nipples, and give five quick downward thrusts (up to 1/3rd or ½ the depth of the chest).
Repeat the back blows and chest thrusts until the blockage clears, emergency medical help arrives, or the baby loses consciousness.
If the infant stops breathing and goes limp, immediately stop choking relief procedure. Place the baby on a firm, flat surface and start infant CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). 1 CPR set = 30 chest pushes and two breaths. Keep checking the mouth after chest pushes; if the dislodged object is visible, remove it; otherwise, carry on with CPR till breathing is restored or help arrives.
Precautions To Avoid Choking
- Childproof your home: keep potential choking hazards out of baby’s reach
- Modify foods like grapes, carrots, and nuts by cutting up, grinding, mashing, cooking, or finely chopping to make them safe for consumption.
- Carefully supervise your infants while they eat.
- Avoid feeding kids in moving vehicles or while actively playing, crawling, or running around.
- Make the infant sit up and eat slowly and avoid distractions during mealtime.
- Keep a drink nearby to wash down food between bites.
- Caregivers must be trained in CPR.
Babies are curious creatures who enjoy exploring their environment; they gravitate towards small, bite-sized objects that they can grab, hold and put in their mouth. A little caution goes a long way in reducing the risk of choking.