Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Scariest Thing in the World.

Ava choked. CHOKED. And not like made a little coughing noise. Like, I got to the step in the choking CPR steps where I swoop my finger into her teeny tiny throat in an attempt to clear her airway.

Thankfully, I succeeded.

Then, once I picked her up and held her in my arms and said a prayer of thanks to God and any and everyone who would listen and hugged her over and over and over, I stepped into the downstairs bathroom (while D supervised her) and sobbed like a little girl.

She's fine now. She was fine as soon as I removed the piece of pear that had managed to get caught in her airway. And I know that I cannot remove her solid food privileges or protect her from any and everything. But the fact that she choked at dinnertime the other night still has me all torn up inside, watching her every single second of mealtime, even with silly things that she eats with absolutely no problem.

I am so, so thankful that she's alright. I mean, THANK YOU GOD. And you know what else I'm extremely thankful for? My CPR and First Aid training I've been through for nannying and working in social work and the like. I am so thankful that I was able to kick into action and know exactly what to do.

SO...just as a quick refresher, here's what you should do if your baby starts to choke:
Quickly Assess the Infant
If the baby can't cough or cry, then he or she is probably choking. Have someone else call 911, and go to step 3. If no one is availabe to call 911, go to step 3 and try to help the baby for 2 minutes before stopping to call 911 yourself. If you think the baby is having an allergic reaction rather than choking on something, call 911 immediately.
If the baby is able to cough or cry, then he or she is able to breathe. Call 911 and watch the baby closely. If the baby suddenly stops coughing or crying and can't seem to breathe, go to step 3.

Give 5 Blows to the Back
Lay the baby face-down on your arm. Hold the baby's head with your hand to keep his or her neck straight. The baby's legs should be straddling your arm near the elbow.
Lean the baby down at an angle. The infant's head should be lower than his or her waist.

With the heal of your other hand, strike the baby between the shoulder blades 5 times.

Give 5 Chest Thrusts
Roll the baby from one arm to the other so that he or she is now laying face up. Keep the head cradled in your hand and the legs straddling your arm.
Hold the baby at an angle with his or her head low and give 5 chest thrusts. Use two fingers on the breast bone right between the nipples. Push down about an inch 5 times.

Look in the Baby's Mouth
If you see something in the baby's mouth, pull it out. Otherwise, keep your fingers out of the baby's mouth and repeat back blows and chest thrusts. Keep doing it until the baby coughs up the object.
If the baby becomes unconscious, begin infant CPR.

After 2 minutes of trying to dislodge the object, call 911 and keep trying.

I know how scary these directives are, but please. Learn them. Print them and keep them somewhere where you can see them. You CAN save your baby's life. You'd require it of your caregiver, wouldn't you? Require it of yourself.

OK, stepping off my soapbox now ;)

Happy Tuesday!


  1. OMG, I am so THANKFUL she is okay. That is such a scary scary situation. Thank God!

    This happened to our son when he was about 10 months old and luckily my husband got him out of his high chair, turned around and did the blows to the back which helped.

    So so scary.

  2. I am so thankful Ava is okay! That must have been such a scary thing for you, but SO glad you knew what you were doing.
    I'm glad little A is doing well now.. Mommy too.

  3. Omg, I'm so glad Ava is alright! This post made me cry! My four year old choked once when she was about Ava's age and it scared the poop out of me! Like you, I had had CPR training due to working in child care (Ha! I was AT work, in a daycare, at the time that it happened). Only she didn't choke on food, she choked on one of those teeny-tiny, spring-loaded hair clips I used to use in her hair. I had never given any thought to my girls' hair accessories being choking hazards because, until that day, neither of my girls had ever put them in their mouths. But that day, I was changing Isabel's diaper when she reached up, yanked a clip off her head and stuck it in her mouth! She was lying on her back, so of course the clip dropped straight into her windpipe. She started gasping and coughing immediately, and within seconds her face and lips were turning blue. She could cough and cry, but just barely. The longer she coughed and hacked, the less she was able to breathe. I couldn't see the clip in her mouth and I was afraid to sweep my finger around in there in case I lodged it further down, so I flipped her onto my arm, face down and pounded on her back with the heel of my hand. It took a good couple of minutes to dislodge the clip, and she vomited phlegm and blood (the clip was scratching in the insides of her throat), but she finally coughed it up. Let me tell you, when that clip came out (with a mouthful of puke, I might add), I grabbed her in the tightest hug I've ever given any of my children and we both just bawled! It's still hard for me to think about it!

    On the choking note, however, if I can just put it out there for moms to think twice about hair things for their baby girls. When I got home, I rounded up all the offending clips I could find and threw them away. I have never bought those for my girls again. AND, I checked the packaging - it contained a choking hazard warning! If anything you're considering buying for your baby has a choking warning on the label, take it seriously!

  4. How scary!! Did you end up having to call 911?

  5. Oh wow. My heart dropped just reading that. Thank you so much for posting the steps to help a choking child. I can't begin to imagine what I'd do in such a situation. Hopefully, I'd stay smart and do what you just did now that I know what should be done. You are an AMAZING mom.

  6. Wow! I'm so glad Ava is okay, and I hope your poor nerves will settle a bit. I am so terrified of Presley choking.

  7. Well done on doing the right thing and remaining calm. I'd like to think I could stay calm in that kind of situation, but when it comes to my child that kind of thing terrifies me. I'm afraid I'd panic... hopefully we won't ever have to test that, but it happens to almost everyone. I'm glad Ava is ok! She's a little trooper like her Momma!

  8. so happi Ava is okay, and props to you for keeping calm & doing the right thing =) those situations are always stressful & you never know how you'll react.

  9. And that's exactly why DH and I refreshed our CPR certs and added infant/child to it just prior to Noah's birth (which is a story in itself - 9 months PG doing CPR on a dummy, fun stuff. They were terrified I'd go into labor).

    I'm so glad Ava's okay! Quick thinking on your part momma!


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