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    Paramedic mum-of-two reveals the one ‘massive’ choking hazard every parent needs to know

    A paramedic and mother has shared a ‘little-known’ choking hazard to be mindful of after you’ve hosted a party, calling it something that is ‘easily missed’

    Advanced life support paramedic and CEO of the Australian parenting organisation Tiny Hearts Education, Nikki Jurcutz, said choking is the number one thing she gets asked about by new parents.

    In one of her latest TikTok videos Nikki pointed out how dangerous leftover balloon rubber is and how easily it can become trapped in your child’s throat.

    In one of her latest TikTok videos Nikki pointed out how dangerous leftover balloon rubber is and how easily it can become trapped in your child's throat

    Advanced life support paramedic and CEO of the Australian parenting organisation Tiny Hearts Education , Nikki Jurcutz, said choking is the number one thing she gets asked about by new parents

    ‘I hosted a birthday party recently and I was cleaning up and found this part of a balloon… these are massive choking hazards and you need to be super careful around balloons,’ she said.

    ‘As you can imagine trying to do back blows to get this up when it’s stuck would be near impossible. So be super vigilant.’ 

    While choking is dangerous and can be deadly, you can get on top of what to do and how to prevent it with a few simple rules.

    A paramedic and mother has shared her simple 'squish test' for identifying choking hazards, and she promises being familiar with it could save your child's life (Nikki Jurcutz pictured)

    A paramedic and mother has shared her simple ‘squish test’ for identifying choking hazards, and she promises being familiar with it could save your child’s life (Nikki Jurcutz pictured)

    The first thing Nikki said you need to know about with choking is the 'squish test', which basically determines whether a finger food you're about to give your child is safe (pictured)

    The first thing Nikki said you need to know about with choking is the 'squish test', which basically determines whether a finger food you're about to give your child is safe (pictured)

    The first thing Nikki said you need to know about with choking is the ‘squish test’, which basically determines whether a finger food you’re about to give your child is safe (pictured)

    1. The ‘squish test’

    The first thing Nikki said you need to know about with choking is the ‘squish test’, which basically determines whether a finger food you’re about to give your child is safe.

    To try the squish test for yourself, Nikki recommends you simply ‘pinch the food between your pointer fingers and thumb’.

    ‘This mimics the pressure of a toothless little one’s gums,’ Nikki said on the Tiny Hearts website.

    ‘If the food squishes easily, it means it’s safe and bub will be able to chew. 

    ‘If it doesn’t squish easily, you should cook, grate or mash it, so that it becomes soft enough to pass the test.’

    Nikki demonstrated how the test works in reality, with common foods you might want to try with your baby, including avocado, cheese, boiled egg, apple and cucumber. 

    While softer items like banana, egg and avocado mash easily to the touch, foods like apple and cucumber do not break down no matter how hard you press.

    ‘This is such great information for helping with solids,’ one person commented underneath Nikki’s video.

    The second hack Nikki swears by is the 'choke check hack', which is another good way to see if something is suitable for your child aged 0-3 to eat (pictured)

    The second hack Nikki swears by is the 'choke check hack', which is another good way to see if something is suitable for your child aged 0-3 to eat (pictured)

    The second hack Nikki swears by is the ‘choke check hack’, which is another good way to see if something is suitable for your child aged 0-3 to eat (pictured)

    2. The ‘choke check hack’

    The second hack Nikki swears by is the ‘choke check hack’, which is another good way to see if something is suitable for your child aged 0-3 to eat.

    To try this, Nikki recommends you drop various items through a hole that you create with your index finger and thumb. 

    The foods she drops down through the hole include a cherry, popcorn, a grape, a $1 coin and other toys. 

    ‘This is how I check to see if food or small items may potentially be a choking hazard for my bubs,’ Nikki wrote.

    ‘The circle is approximately the size of a child’s airway aged 0-3. If anything can fit in this hole, then it’s a choking hazard.’

    Nikki said there are three food types that are more likely to cause choking than others: round, slippery and firm items, and these need to be modified so they are safe (pictured)

    Nikki said there are three food types that are more likely to cause choking than others: round, slippery and firm items, and these need to be modified so they are safe (pictured)

    Nikki said there are three food types that are more likely to cause choking than others: round, slippery and firm items, and these need to be modified so they are safe (pictured)

    3. The ‘consistency test’

    Finally, the paramedic likes to use something often called the ‘consistency test’. 

    Nikki said there are three food types that are more likely to cause choking than others: round, slippery and firm items. 

    If you have something that isn't right, you can grate it (pictured) or put it in quarters

    If you have something that isn’t right, you can grate it (pictured) or put it in quarters

    ‘Think grapes, cherry tomatoes, blueberries, nuts, raw carrot, apple, popcorn, chewing gum, coins, marbles and batteries,’ she said.

    ‘The greater the roundness, firmness or slipperiness of an object, the greater the choking risk.’ 

    To prevent a risk of choking, Nikki said you can modify foods by making items that are round less round and foods that are slippery less slippery.

    For example, you could cut grapes into quarters or lengthways or roll slippery food like avocado in fine breadcrumbs and cook carrot to make it less firm.  

    You should also always make sure your child is in a safe eating environment, so that they are seated safely and securely in a highchair within arm’s reach at all times. 

    The facts on choking and what to do revealed 

    Choking is what happens when something gets stuck in a person’s throat or windpipe, partially or totally blocking the flow of air to their lungs.

    In adults, choking usually occurs when a piece of food enters the windpipe instead of the food pipe. Babies and young children can choke on anything smaller than a D-size battery.

    Sometimes the windpipe is only partially blocked. If the person can still breathe, they will probably be able to push out the object by coughing forcefully. Be careful not to do anything that will push the blockage further into the windpipe, like banging on the person’s back while they are upright.

    If the object cuts off the airway completely and the person cannot breathe, it’s now a medical emergency. The brain can only survive for a few minutes without oxygen.

    The symptoms include clutching the throat, difficulty breathing and blue lips.

    With children and adults over one year and choking, you should try to keep the person calm. Ask them to cough to remove the object and if this doesn’t work, call triple zero (000). Bend the person forward and give them up to 5 sharp blows on the back between the shoulder blades with the heel of one hand. After each blow, check if the blockage has been cleared.

    If the blockage still hasn’t cleared after 5 blows, place one hand in the middle of the person’s back for support. Place the heel of the other hand on the lower half of the breastbone (in the central part of the chest). Press hard into the chest with a quick upward thrust, as if you’re trying to lift the person up. After each thrust, check if the blockage has been cleared. If the blockage has not cleared after 5 thrusts, continue alternating 5 back blows with 5 chest thrusts until medical help arrives.

    Source: Health Direct

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