OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – With Halloween on Tuesday, families across Oklahoma are gearing up for a night of costumes, fun and of course, candy. However, with candy, especially hard candy, comes the risk of choking.
“This is life or death time when we have an obstructed airway,” said EMSA paramedic Bret Smith. “We have just minutes before this becomes fatal.”
According to Smith, choking is the number one cause of death in children between one and three years old. He adds that every year, choking leads to more than 12,000 ER visits, which is why EMSA is sharing tips to make sure Oklahoma family’s nights of fun don’t turn into a nightmare this Halloween.
“This is a subject that’s near and dear to me. I have three kids of my own,” said Smith.
Smith warns that hard candies, like Dum Dums, as well as gummy candies, are especially troublesome.
“The airways of children and infants are obviously smaller than that of an adult. So, they can become obstructed far more easily than an adult could,” said Smith.
If an infant does choke, first call 911. Then check their airway and position the infant the way Smith does to the baby doll in the video attached to this story.
“We’re going to give five back blows with the palm of our hand,” said Smith. “Support the head. Turn the child over and with two fingers on the breastbone, we’re going to give five chest thrusts.”
For children one and older who are conscious, the Heimlich maneuver is best.
“We’re going to be moving inwards and upwards with a very violent thrust here,” said Smith.
If a child passes out, EMSA says to perform chest compressions until paramedics get there.
A link to more detailed instructions from EMSA can be found here.