4 ways to prevent your Child from choking

Children choking on different substances, especially nuts, maize, etc is a common occurrence in our homes & it can be a scary sight to see. Sometimes, these substances that they swallow in can enter the wrong places in the body and choking occurs. This can cause a lot of problems to the child, even leading to death through what is known as Foreign Body Aspiration.

groundnut lodged in the trachea causing choking

Hence it is safer and better to prevent it from happening, and you can do this through the following ways;

How to Prevent your Child from Choking

  1. Keep them away from seeds
  2. Good feeding Habits
  3. Keep mouth clear
  4. Sit in safe high chair

Keep Them Away from Seeds:

Children always love to reach around and explore their environments. When they do this, they tend to pick up seeds & tiny particles like nuts (groundnut), corn seeds, bean seeds or any seed-like objects and put them straight in their mouth to swallow. Keep such objects far away from their reach.

Good Feeding Practice:

Good Feeding Practice: most children tend to choke during feeding. This can be prevented by the practice of good feeding habits as follows;

  • Stop feeding when they laugh or cry: This is because during crying or laughing, the airway of a baby is usually open, and any food given to them at this time may enter the wrong channel, thereby causing aspiration. Simply wait for the child to stop laughing or crying before you continue the feeding. This would reduce the chances of choking.
  • Cut foods: cutting foods into tiny pieces would help reduce the incidence of choking. The smaller the better.
  • Cook foods before feeding: this helps to soften the foods and makes it easer for the child to chew them before eating. If you are going to give corn, let it be cooked corn and not roasted one.
  • Mash or grate foods: after cooking foods, you can mash the food and make it easier for them to eat it. That way, you have already helped them do the chewing and that would reduce the risk of any hard food substance causing choking. This can be done especially for food items like yam, sweet potatoes or plantain.

Keep the Mouth clear:

It is essential to know what a child has in his mouth at all times. Remember that they do not know anything, and aside from preventing choking, this would help you prevent household poisoning as well. Whenever you notice that your child has anything in his/her mouth, that you didn’t give them, you should open their mouth & check what it is & remove it. It is essential to keep a baby’s mouth clear so as to prevent choking and other common problems with children like household poisoning.

Sit them in a safe high chair:

this is very important, especially when you’re busy with activities around the house like cooking, washing, cleaning, etc. It is important to put the child in a high safe chair so as to prevent them from wandering about in the room. This will reduce the risks of picking up unsafe objects in the vicinity & putting them into their mouths. There are this common baby walker or stroller (depending on the age of the child) that are available and sold for around 10,000-35,000 in most areas.
Your child deserves all the love and care that they can get.

Babies have choked to death on several objects. One night on call at the Children Emergency unit, a child was rushed in vomiting blood because he swallowed a pin which went into the lungs. Sadly, the child died shortly after being brought in.

Statistically, a child chokes to death every 5 days & much of that occurs in kids under 3 years.
So let’s take this seriously!

It is a very sad and traumatic experience to watch a child choke & die from worthless things in their environment. It should not happen to any one else.

Any questions? Ask below!

Authors

  • Mbonu Clinton Anyo attended the College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, in ituku-ozalla, Enugu state, Nigeria.

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