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Dr. Magryta: A common and scary event

Dr. Magryta

Choking is a common and scary event that plays out in the homes of some parents of infants and toddlers.

Counseling young parents on effective parenting around eating and play time can really help reduce the risk of such events.

“Choking can be prevented. Food accounts for over 50% of choking episodes. Be alert for small objects that can cause choking, such as coins, buttons, and small toys. Check under furniture and between cushions for small items that children could find and put in their mouths.

“Toys are designed to be used by children within a certain age range. Age guidelines take into account the safety of a toy based on any possible choking hazard. Don’t let young children play with toys designed for older children.

“Latex balloons are also a choking hazard. If a child bites a balloon and takes a breath, he could suck it into his airway.” (Healthychildren.org)

My advice:

1) Never let your child eat and run or walk at a young age. Tripping and falling can induce a choking event.
2) Scan the floor at any new home your toddler is in for choking hazards like LEGO pieces, toys, batteries, coins and other small objects. Families that have 5- to 12-year-old children often have little choking hazards on the floor.
3) Cut up food into small bite sized pieces that prevent them from lodging in the airway if aspirated. Encourage them to chew thoroughly. Avoid foods like nuts, popcorn, solid meat pieces the size of an airway, and hard fruit.
4) If you think that your child swallowed a battery or a magnet, call a doctor to evaluate immediately. These devices are associated with chemical and electromagnetic burns that can have devastating consequences if not handled appropriately.

Here is a choking video worth watching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtbUB1XPW_o&feature=youtu.be&spfreload=1
There are many other good quality educational videos online’ try CPR guidelines at babycenter.com. A good web resource is Healthychildren.org

Dr. M

Dr. Chris Magryta is a physician at Salisbury Pediatric Associates. Contact him at newsletter@salisburypediatrics.com

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