Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Expect the Unexpected

Act first, panic later.

When faced with an emergency situation with your child, there really isn't any other option.

Aleena had an accident when she was about 9 months old...she was playing in the upstairs hallway while I showered.  I had a baby gate in the bathroom door so I could keep the door open and talk to her and of course there is a gate at the top of the stairs so she couldn't fall.  This was the beginning of her climbing stage.  She tried to pull herself up to stand using the baby gate and she fell and smacked her face on the gate.  Crying, she tried again (while I'm frantically rinsing to get out of the shower), fell again and smacked her face again.

By the time I got to her, there was blood everywhere.  All over her face, her clothes, the carpet...I felt panic setting in.  My baby is bleeding!  Call 911!

Deep breath.

I cleaned her off and found a tiny scrape on her gums.  All that blood from this tiny scrape?! Drool makes everything worse.

I should mention that this was 3 days after taking a dive off of her changing table.  I caught her by the leg before she landed head-first in an empty clothes hamper.  Pretty good reflexes for a sleep-deprived mama.

This kid is going to take years off my life.

Up until this weekend, these were the closest I've come to have an emergency with my kiddos.

Fast forward three years to lunchtime yesterday....

Ellie was finished with her lunch, but munching on a piece of lettuce.  She coughed and when she inhaled, a piece of lettuce got stuck in her throat.  Something about coughing coming to an abrupt stop raises a red flag for a mother.  When I looked at her face, her mouth looked like she was gagging, but nothing was happening.

Oh shit.

Without even thinking, I turned her around and did a stomach thrust, leaned her over my arm and whacked her back a few times.  She coughed and suddenly, there was green vomit all over the floor.  Don't panic.  She was eating lettuce.  She threw up a little more and then was breathing normally.

That's when the panic set in.  I was shaking and trying really hard not to cry.  Ellie was scared enough, I didn't need to add to it.  I just held her for a while and tried not to squeeze too hard.

This kid is going to take years off my life.

Almost all parents know how to help a child who is choking, but here's a refresher:

Infant Choking First Aid
Infant up to 1 year
Toddler Choking First Aid
1 year and older
I was caught off guard by the vomiting.  In the movies when someone chokes, they get the Heimlich by a super hero and the piece of food comes flying out of their mouth and hits an old guy across the room.  End of story.  There is no vomiting in the movies.

On Facebook yesterday, I heard from a bunch of other moms whose children have also vomited after choking so I did a little research.

According to healthline.com,
"Vomiting may occur after being treated with the Heimlich maneuver. All infants and children who experience a choking episode severe enough to require the Heimlich maneuver should be taken to the hospital emergency room to be examined for airway injuries."
While Ellie's episode was severe enough to require the Heimlich, we did not go to the ER afterward.  It never even occurred to me.  Could lettuce injure her airway?

A few minutes after "the incident" she was fine.  Not complaining of a sore throat, there was no coughing and her disposition and breathing were normal.

That was a scary event that I hope we never experience again.

Have you ever choked on food (or non food)?  Nope, not me.
Have you ever had a choking scare with your kids?
How do you deal with emergency situations?  Can you keep a calm, clear head, or do you panic?


  1. I was eating candy in the back seat when I was maybe 4 and started choking. Luckily, my sister saw me and mentioned to my Mom how funny I looked turning blue. My Mom slammed on the brakes, leaped out of the car, pulled me out of the backseat (all in one movement), hung me upside down and pounded on my back until I started breathing again. I don't remember vomiting but I do remember that was the last time any of us were allowed to eat candy in the car

    1. This was probably your mom's worst nightmare. Thank goodness your sister said something!

  2. Not my child, but one Christmas morning Ronny was eating a piece of Russell Stover candy he got in his stocking. He started choking on it and I realized he couldn't breath. I did the Heimlich and the piece of candy popped out.
    After it was over and I was calm I started crying and couldn't stop. So thankful I knew how to do that.
    I'm glad Ellie is fine

    1. So scary, Cindy! He's lucky you were there.


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