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 ;)