You are never too old to choke!

Have you ever choked on something? Have you ever had to perform abdominal thrusts (also known as the Heimlich maneuver) on someone or have it done to you? It doesn’t matter how old you are – anyone can choke! With little ones we worry when they start eating solids. We stay close by as they eat in the early years to monitor them. As our children grow, sometimes choking isn’t on our mind as much.candy 2

We went out for a lovely dinner as a family. We were with grandparents, cousins, aunt and uncle. As we were paying for our meal, our children were sifting through the very exciting bowl of hard candies at the front desk. I think you know where I’m going with this story! We decided to take a stroll together as the weather was beautiful. As we walked, the kids all laughed and carried on as they always do with their cousins. My children know never to run with a sucker in their mouth, nor while eating. I’ve repeated myself a million times so far as a mom!

Suddenly, my 12 year old daughter looked at me with fear in her eyes that made me weak. I asked “Are you OK?” She put both of her hands to her neck, giving me the textbook “universal sign of choking”. I have performed abdominal thrusts on non-family members during my life-guarding days. But having my child look at me with that scared look and having to respond was frightening.

I started by encouraging her to cough. No cough. Nothing. No sound. No air was passing. Totally blocked! I would like to say I stayed calm. My husband who was at my side watching this would probably say different. I began to give her abdominal thrusts. Nothing. Still silence. I continued with abdominal thrusts despite the pit in my stomach. Finally, after what felt like forever, we heard the sweet sound of the candy crashing to the ground and my daughter’s beautiful cry.  My body felt weak. She was fine. It was scary to say the least. Thankfully, I was trained and knew what to do.

Mother embracing and soothes daughter

Points to consider:

  1. Take a first aid course/CPR course.
  2. Stay Calm! This can be difficult in the heat of the moment.
  3. Know when to call 911!

One of our many roles as a parent is to keep our children safe. We eat healthy during pregnancy, buckle our kids up in the car properly and make sure they wear their bike helmets. It’s important to also be prepared for an emergency. Take a first aid/CPR course – I’m glad I did. Keep up the good work parents! You are doing a great job!

Have you ever had to respond to an emergency situation with your child? How did it go? Share your story and tips with us:

For parenting information or to speak with a public health nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.

About Tara Johnston RN

I am thrilled to be helping families in the Halton community by supporting parents with children across the ages. I have a broad background in public health, and with a set of twins of my own, I am passionate about supporting families with multiples! I am enjoying my own parenting journey with my 3 awesome school-age children!
This entry was posted in Parenting, Physical Health, preschoolers, Safety, School-aged Children, Teens, Toddlers, Tweens and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to You are never too old to choke!

  1. crunchymum says:

    My 6yo choked on a piece of honeydew melon and I had to give him the heimlich several times before it came out. He was at our kitchen table and I was in the kitchen but it was our 4yo that alerted me to him choking. Very scary but I was so thankful I knew what to do…

    • Andrea Scott RN says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience with us! What a scary situation, and glad you felt prepared to handle it. Great job! ~Andrea

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