Choking In The Conscious Infant

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors

Choking in a conscious infant may occur when the upper airway, usually thethroat or windpipe, is blocked by an object or irritation.

What are the causes and risks of the injury?

Choking is usually caused by things that the infant has placed in his or hermouth. These include toys, candy, popcorn, nuts, batteries, rocks, and buttons.Things that wrap around the throat and constrict it, such as strings or rope,can also cause choking.

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors

Choking in a conscious infant may occur when the upper airway, usually thethroat or windpipe, is blocked by an object or irritation.

What are the causes and risks of the injury?

Choking is usually caused by things that the infant has placed in his or hermouth. These include toys, candy, popcorn, nuts, batteries, rocks, and buttons.Things that wrap around the throat and constrict it, such as strings or rope,can also cause choking.

Symptoms & Signs

What are the signs and symptoms of the injury?

Signs and symptoms of choking in a conscious infant include:

  • inability to breathe or cry
  • high-pitched voice or gurgling sounds
  • ineffective cough
  • bluish tint in face, hands, or feet
  • If the choking episode is left untreated, unconsciousness or death may follow.

    Symptoms & Signs

    What are the signs and symptoms of the injury?

    Signs and symptoms of choking in a conscious infant include:

  • inability to breathe or cry
  • high-pitched voice or gurgling sounds
  • ineffective cough
  • bluish tint in face, hands, or feet
  • If the choking episode is left untreated, unconsciousness or death may follow.

    Diagnosis & Tests

    How is the injury recognized?

    Usually a person will notice that the infant is having difficulty breathing.There may be a shocked, anxious look on the infant’s face, and the baby maybegin to turn blue.

    Diagnosis & Tests

    How is the injury recognized?

    Usually a person will notice that the infant is having difficulty breathing.There may be a shocked, anxious look on the infant’s face, and the baby maybegin to turn blue.

    Prevention & Expectations

    What can be done to prevent the injury?

    Some cases of choking can be avoided by:

  • giving infants only age-appropriate toys
  • avoiding toys that break easily, have small parts, or have batteries
  • keeping foods such as popcorn, hot dogs, nuts, and seeds away frominfants
  • keeping buttons, watch batteries, coins, rocks, and any other smallhousehold items away from infants
  • keeping strings and ropes away from infants. Never tie a pacifier withstring to a baby’s clothing. The string could get wrapped around the baby’sneck.
  • Prevention & Expectations

    What can be done to prevent the injury?

    Some cases of choking can be avoided by:

  • giving infants only age-appropriate toys
  • avoiding toys that break easily, have small parts, or have batteries
  • keeping foods such as popcorn, hot dogs, nuts, and seeds away frominfants
  • keeping buttons, watch batteries, coins, rocks, and any other smallhousehold items away from infants
  • keeping strings and ropes away from infants. Never tie a pacifier withstring to a baby’s clothing. The string could get wrapped around the baby’sneck.
  • Treatment & Monitoring

    What are the treatments for the injury?

    If choking is suspected in a conscious infant:

  • Nothing should be done if the infant can still cough, breathe, or cry.
  • If the infant is conscious, do not try to grasp any object lodged in thethroat, because this may push it down further.
  • No first aid steps should be started until it is certain that the infant isactually choking. If the infant is actually choking, coughing and crying willbe very weak or impossible, and the infant’s distress will be very obvious.
  • If the person performing first aid is alone, he or she should shout for helpand begin first aid. If another person is there, he or she should contact localemergency medical services.

    First aid in the choking infant includes the following steps:

  • Lay the infant face down along the forearm with the baby’s head lower thanits body. The lap can be used to support the baby.
  • With the infant lying face down, use the heel of the hand to give 5 sharpblows to the back between the shoulder blades.
  • The infant is then turned over, again keeping the head lower than the body.Two fingers are placed on the breastbone just below the nipple line, and 5thrusts are given. Depress the breastbone one half to one inch each time.
  • This series of 5 back blows and 5 chest thrusts is continued until theairway is cleared or until the child loses consciousness.
  • If the child does lose consciousness, the procedures for choking in the unconscious infant should be followed.

    What are the side effects of the treatments?

    Back blows and chest thrusts can cause vomiting, injuries to internal organs, or broken ribs. Vomiting can be aproblem if the vomited material is caught in the airway and inhaled into thelungs.

    What happens after treatment for the injury?

    It is important to obtain medical care from ahealthcare professional for an infant who has choked. Occasionally, an object will enter the lung insteadof being expelled. This can cause coughing, wheezing, or aspiration pneumonia.

    Treatment & Monitoring

    What are the treatments for the injury?

    If choking is suspected in a conscious infant:

  • Nothing should be done if the infant can still cough, breathe, or cry.
  • If the infant is conscious, do not try to grasp any object lodged in thethroat, because this may push it down further.
  • No first aid steps should be started until it is certain that the infant isactually choking. If the infant is actually choking, coughing and crying willbe very weak or impossible, and the infant’s distress will be very obvious.
  • If the person performing first aid is alone, he or she should shout for helpand begin first aid. If another person is there, he or she should contact localemergency medical services.

    First aid in the choking infant includes the following steps:

  • Lay the infant face down along the forearm with the baby’s head lower thanits body. The lap can be used to support the baby.
  • With the infant lying face down, use the heel of the hand to give 5 sharpblows to the back between the shoulder blades.
  • The infant is then turned over, again keeping the head lower than the body.Two fingers are placed on the breastbone just below the nipple line, and 5thrusts are given. Depress the breastbone one half to one inch each time.
  • This series of 5 back blows and 5 chest thrusts is continued until theairway is cleared or until the child loses consciousness.
  • If the child does lose consciousness, the procedures for choking in the unconscious infant should be followed.

    What are the side effects of the treatments?

    Back blows and chest thrusts can cause vomiting, injuries to internal organs, or broken ribs. Vomiting can be aproblem if the vomited material is caught in the airway and inhaled into thelungs.

    What happens after treatment for the injury?

    It is important to obtain medical care from ahealthcare professional for an infant who has choked. Occasionally, an object will enter the lung insteadof being expelled. This can cause coughing, wheezing, or aspiration pneumonia.

    Article type: xmedgeneral

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