Children mainly explore and interact with the world, learning from it by touching, feeling, hearing, seeing, and tasting. Because they have a tendency to put anything they touch in their mouths, they will inevitably put foreign bodies into their mouths and swallow some of them too. Hence, as a mother or a father, you should know at least what to do when this happens. Here now are basic first aid measures for foreign body ingestion.
Foreign object ingestion is a potentially serious problem that most commonly occurs in children aged six months to three years. It causes serious complications in a small amount of patients who experience it and approximately a thousand deaths per year are attributed to ingestion of foreign bodies in the country.
If your child swallows a foreign object, identify the suspected object as quickly as possible. Look around your child’s surroundings. Was he playing with Lego blocks? Coins? It will help to know what he swallowed because small objects will usually pass through his or her digestive system without a problem. But some objects can lodge in his or her esophagus and it is this time that you may need to have it removed, especially if it is a pointed object which can cause more damage and bleeding, or if it is a battery, which can rapidly cause nearby tissue injury.
If your child has swallowed an object but you have never had first aid training and your the only rescuer, do call 911 immediately. If someone else is with you, have him ore her call for help while you attend to your child.
If your child is coughing forcefully, encourage him or her to continue coughing and do not interfere. If a swallowed object blocks the airway and the person’s condition worsens, the American Red Cross recommends the five-and-five approach to first aid:
Give five back blows by pushing the the heel of your hand against the person’s shoulder blades. Then, give five abdominal thrusts which is also known as the Heimlich maneuver. From behind your child, wrap your arms around him or her and push your closed fist against his or her abdomen in an upward motion.
Be cautious in performing abdominal thrusts on infants as this may injure them. Alternate between five back blows and five abdominal thrusts until the blockage is dislodged. Most small objects will be coughed out after a cycle or two of back blows and abdominal thrusts. If not, help will most likely have arrived.
As a preventive measure, we suggest buying your kids toys that are non-choking hazards.We also suggest that all parents or parents-to-be to undergo Basic First Aid Lessons. Visit the American Red Cross website to find out more.