6. First Aid for Airway Obstruction in Children


Today we will discuss the first aid in case of airway obstruction due to foreign objects in children. Foreign object contact is a common type of domestic accident. According to statistics, in 67% of cases, it happens to children aged 1 to 3 years. Foreign objects caught in the respiratory tract can lead to severe asphyxiation, suffocation, which threatens the child's life.

Characteristic symptoms in a child suspect of a foreign object in the upper respiratory tract are: Sudden cough without a reason, choking. The child clutches at his throat and is unable to talk or breathe. A strong feeling of fright, & skin cyanosis. When providing first aid in such cases, it is necessary to stay calm and not panic. Calm the child. If the child is breathing and can speak or cough, try not to restrain the cough reflex, and encourage him to cough. Continue to monitor his condition. If the child cannot clear his throat, breathes in the air with a whistle, and cannot speak or cry out loud, then immediately call an ambulance.

Then determine his level of consciousness, and proceed with the following actions: If the victim is a conscious child under one-year-old, lay the baby face down on your forearm, so that its chest is on your palm. Place your hand with the child on your hip or knee. Lower the child's head below his torso. Hold the jaw with your thumb and forefinger. Carefully insert the finger into the mouth, and press on the tongue's root. Often, there are candy wrappers or plastic bags in the child's mouth.

Pressuring on the tongue's root provokes not only the gag reflex, but also stimulates the cough reflex.

A sharp reduction in the diaphragm during vomiting also helps to remove a foreign object from the airways. Then, with the second wrist, apply sliding blows between the shoulder blades with an interval of one second, and check if the foreign body has left the respiratory tract. When striking on the back, do not forget that the child's spine has practically no muscle frame.

So please, control the strength of your blow. Do not hit on the back with your fist or edge of the palm. If after five strokes, there is no result, turn the child over and lay him on his back, on a hard surface, or keep him on your lap facing away from you. Keep the baby's head below his torso. Place the middle and forefinger of one hand on the baby's chest, and press vigorously up to five times, be careful.

We do not use the Heimlich maneuver in children younger than 12 months. If the foreign object does not come out after the actions taken, continue to alternate five strokes on the back with five shocks to the chest. Continue taking the techniques until the airway is restored or an ambulance comes. If the foreign object comes successfully out, keep evaluating the condition of the child. The child will regain consciousness and demonstrate effective independent breathing. Put him in a safe position on his side, and observe the breathing and the consciousness level until the ambulance arrives.

Suppose the obstruction has not been resolved, and the child has lost consciousness. In that case, the action should be as follows: Open their mouth and examine it for visible objects. If there are, try to move it with one finger. Do not try to act with your finger blindly or repeatedly. This may push the object deeper into the throat and cause damage. Open the airways by bending the head, lifting the chin, and taking five artificial breaths. Evaluate the effectiveness, if your breath does not raise the chest, change the position of the head before making another attempt. Try to take five artificial breaths. If there is no reaction such as movement, coughing, spontaneous breathing, proceed to 15 chest compressions. Continue the CPR at a rate of 15 to 2, until breathing is restored or an ambulance arrives.

What should you do if the child is conscious and older than one year? Sit down and lay the child across your knees, tilting its head down. In this position, perform five sliding strokes between the shoulder blades. If there is no effect, apply the intense pressure on the stomach, the Heimlich maneuver. To do this stand behind the child. If necessary, lower down on one or both knees to be on the same level with the child. Squeeze a hand clenched into a fist with your thumb to the baby's stomach directly above the belly button, and grasp the fist with a second hand. With sharp, quick movements, press the stomach upwards until the foreign object exits the respiratory tract. Heimlich maneuver is the most effective way to remove foreign bodies from the respiratory tract.

However, be careful, it sometimes may cause injury to internal organs. If the child faints, stop the procedure and immediately start CPR, as discussed in previous videos. Continue resuscitation until the ambulance arrives, or until breathing is restored. When a child swallows a foreign object, try to remember what form it was. If this is a small button, bead, or ball, you should not worry especially. Within a day, it will leave together with the feces. If the object has sharp edges, you should immediately consult with a doctor. In any case, you should not give the child laxatives.

To sum up, now you have learned how to provide first aid to a child with an airway obstruction, whatever age the child is.

Remember the rules, hopefully they will help you to save somebody's life.

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