Last Friday, I experienced one of my worst fears as a parent. I used skills that I had hoped I would never have to use, but am extremely grateful that I have. My 9 month old baby was choking. I had to perform the Heimlich Maneuver on my infant.
I am so lucky that I have been through a CPR & First Aid training with the American Red Cross. I have actually been through that class on three different occasions. Going through that class definitely saved Sophie’s life. I have no doubts about that!
I put Sophie in her high chair for dinner. She picked up a little baby rice puff and put it in her mouth. All smiles. I poked a spoonful of pureed turkey and vegetables in her mouth and she immediately started gagging and turning really red. I went into autopilot. I jerked her out of her chair, leaned her on my forearm, with her head slightly pointed down and I started with the back blows. After about three back blows, something came up and she started crying. I knew when I heard her cry that it was over. I held her and soothed her like I never have before… like I thought I might never get to again.
It wasn’t until later when I realized exactly what had gone down. Once Sophie was calm, I put her back in the high chair to feed her again. I saw something on the tray and picked it up. It was a tiny, little, snowflake shaped magnet from a toy that belongs to my older daughter. It was soaked in Sophie’s saliva and baby food, so I know it was the cause of her choking episode. Before dinner time, Sophie had been playing on the floor in the living room. She just learned to inch-worm crawl. I scanned the room for any small toys of Amelia’s and didn’t see any. The only explanation I can think of is that the magnet must have been under the coffee table where I couldn’t see it.
If you have young children at home or if you are ever around young children- please make sure you know how to help them if they should choke on something! I urge you to take a CPR/First Aid class so that you can be confident in your skills. Even if you are very careful, accidents can happen. Babies put EVERYTHING in their mouths! Babies see things that adults don’t see because babies are on the floor. If you want to be really sure that there are no small dangers before you put your baby in the floor, get down there on your belly and look around from that angle- but still learn what to do if he chokes!
Watch this video on infant choking. It is very short but shows a good illustration of what to do when a baby is choking. Go home and practice on a doll- it sounds silly, but it is helpful! And it just might save a life.