A child will die every five days in the U.S. from choking on food, and choking is the fourth leading cause of death in children under the age of five. Parents and caregivers can reduce the risk of choking by learning first aid for choking and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). As well, there are devices on the market that may prevent choking accidents and possible choking deaths.
Choking accidents not only occur in the home. Day care workers, caregivers and school personnel play a key role in the prevention of injuries. Health Care Professionals recommend that these facilities should be equipped with anti-choking devices and personnel should be educated with such equipment and life saving procedures to eliminate senseless and tragic choking incidents.
Child-care centers have too often been found to inadequately train their employees, and food-choking injuries have unnecessarily occurred. They may be found legally responsible if unsupervised children have been injured while under their care. When such accidents occur, a personal injury claim for negligence may be brought against the facility itself and employees.
If your child has suffered a food-choking injury due to the negligence of a supervising individual or facility, you may be entitled to damages for the needless suffering your son or daughter has endured. Call food-choking injury lawyer Jeffrey Killino at 877-875-2927 for expert assistance with this legal pursuit.
The Heimlich Maneuver– Outdated?
Although the Heimlich Maneuver has been the gold standard to treat choking for decades, the procedure –a series of abdominal thrusts–is not always successful. The Heimlich is less effective if the airway is only partially blocked and some victims are not in a state where they can receive a Heimlich. The victim must conscious, and it’s far too dangerous for babies.
For instance, latex balloons are a leading cause of choking deaths to children 8 years of age or younger. While trying to inflate them, children inhale latex balloons or choke on their broken pieces. Because latex is a smooth material and can conform to the child’s throat, it can easily block the airway, making it impossible to breathe. Performing the Heimlich Maneuver is usually ineffective because the air that does get through can make the blockage worse by completely covering the throat.
When infants start crawling, small objects are key targets for them to put in their mouth. Along with latex balloons, watch out for these potentially dangerous choking objects:
- Toys with small parts and toys that can be compressed to fit into a child’s mouth
- Pen or marker caps
- Small balls
- Button batteries
- Medicine syringes
- Hair barrettes and beads
How to Prevent and Stop Choking
Timing is crucial, so any treatment needs to be delivered quickly and effectively. And airway obstruction is a frightening thing to manage.
The American Red Cross has a new protocol. It recommends calling 9-1-1, then giving the person several sharp blows to the back, right between the shoulder blades, with the heel of the hand. If this doesn’t clear the obstructed airway, “abdominal thrusts” should be tried next, alternating with repeated back blows, until the person breathes freely or loses consciousness.
Sadly, history shows these procedures to be unreliable, but two devices on the market provide alternatives to abdominal thrusts.
The LifeVac is a hand-held device that uses suction to remove a foreign body from a blocked airway. Dr. Lih, who found that the Heimlich was ineffective in resuscitating a child who choked on a grape, invented LifeVac.
In order to use the LifeVac effectively, you need to create an effective seal between the mask and the face (similar to using an ambu-bag in airway resuscitation). On its website, LifeVac claims that 20 lives have been saved with this device. LifeVac uses air pressure to suction items out of a choking victim’s throat. The mask allows air to escape through the sides of the mask as it compresses but not when it is pulled back out, so it creates a light vacuum in the victim’s mouth that forces the item loose.
Another first-aid choking device is the “De-Choker.” It varies slightly in design but basically works the same as the LifeVac. You put a mask on the choking victim and use suction to help dislodged the obstruction.
First aid experts said for any choking protocol, the time to learn is not in time of emergency. You should practice in a relaxed environment so you can learn the drill if you ever need it.
Food-choking injury lawyer Jeffrey Killino has extensive experience in obtaining compensation for families of children injured in food-choking accidents. For expert and caring legal assistance with your child’s injuries, contact Jeffrey Killino at 877-875-2927.