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.
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.
Points to consider:
- Take a first aid course/CPR course.
- Stay Calm! This can be difficult in the heat of the moment.
- 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!
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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.