Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What's on Your Child's Lunch Plate: Choking or Gagging?

I have a toddler. He is extremely picky. I also have a baby. So between the two our lunches have to be 1) somewhat nutritious 2) something the toddler will eat and 3) something that I can fix in about 15 minutes. It's a tall order. So far our lunches have been boring. I'm getting tired of the frozen food and sandwiches. Maybe you are also facing this problem. Maybe you've got a few tricks up your sleeve. Maybe we can help each other. I figure on every Tuesday I will feature what he ate. Maybe it will be whole bunch of pictures. Maybe it will be only one. And then I'll tell you (or if it's not too disgusting show you) what and how much of it he ate. I need your help. Please comment or upload something. I'm desperate. 

Today was pizza and banana.  HB came back from school (we've had a busy month which is why some blogging topics haven't happened yet) so I just put together something quick and easy.  He ate a good chunk of it despite having just woke up from the car ride home.

Choking or Gagging?


One evening while eating our usual family dinner, Hubby heard strange sounds coming from Knee.  Alarmed he looked over at a red faced baby and screamed at me to "do something."  Hubby isn't trained in choking care, but I am (although a bit lapsed).  Was the baby choking or gagging?  I'll tell you later.

Most people have no idea how to handle infants who are choking.  We see how some tv shows depict what is commonly known as the Heimlich maneuver, but for children, especially young small infants, that's not what you do when they are choking.  It's extremely important for all parents (or at least the one whose around the children all the time) to have training in choking care and cpr.

Staying up to date is also important.  There are been recent revisions to cpr training, and now they don't advise you to do any rescue breaths.  It's all chest compressions now.  Choking care has also been revised.  You no longer do mouth sweeps to try and "remove" the item.  The reason is because well-meaning but nervous parents can push the object further in or can potentially case it to stab into the baby.  If it comes out, it's supposed to of its own accord.

It is important to know the difference between choking and gagging especially for people who are untrained.  Untrained people tend to mistake the two and end up hurting their child, which is why when Hubby panicked, I gave him a funny look.  And then I had to tell him the difference.  And not just once.  Several times since then.

Choking is silent.  The child doesn't make any noise because in order to make any noises (including gagging) ones you have to have air to pass through your vocal folds.  That's why people who are drowning simply sink.  They don't call out for help or thrash about (although sometimes if they are loosing control).

A baby will not usually pound on it's tray or otherwise alert you to the problem.  They don't turn red either.  They turn blue when they are choking.

So as you probably have surmised Knee was merely gagging, not choking.  And this is normal.  Babies are designed to have their gag reflex more forward than an adult's.  God, in His infinite wisdom, decided that babies needed to learn that they would be very uncomfortable if they shoved something too big into their mouths.  Gagging is actually a good thing since it teaches children about mouth size and to actually chew and swallow rather than stuff. 

While it may panic parents, particularly new ones who haven't seen anyone gag unless a person sees/smells something gross or they are actually on the verge of choking themselves, it's fine.  Don't panic.  Simply help your baby out by sitting them up and lean them silently forward to move the food away from their gag reflex.

Since choking is silent, you want to make sure that you can see your baby while they are eating at all times.  But if you're attending to an older child or your own meal, make sure that your ears are turned on.  A chortling, grunting, babbling baby is not choking.  A silent and quiet baby may be.  Train yourself to look at your child when they aren't making noises and worry less about choking when they are.

Next Week's Topics:  Childhood Obesity- Genetic or Environmental?

1 comment:

  1. Never seen choking thankfully, but gagging can be scary... as a parent esp. ZJ had a few gagging episodes too, but thankfully he didn't even need help, was a second or two and he got it up type of thing.


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