Choking, strangulation and suffocation is the third most common cause of death in children in the UK.
Almost 5,000 young children a year are taken to hospital after a choking incident in the UK and more than half of these children are under five.
Food is cited as the reason for the incident in more than half the cases.
The top foods that pose a choking risk to children under five are:
Sausages, Carrots, Apples, Grapes, Nuts, Cherry Tomatoes, Dollops of Peanut Butter, Marshmallows, Chewing Gum and Hard Sweets, Popcorn and Fish Bones.
According to Safe Kids toys account for a small proportion of choking cases. Non-food choking incidents are most often caused by coins in children age 3 and under.
Choking occurs when a foreign object becomes lodged in the throat or windpipe. Because choking cuts off oxygen to the brain, it is important to administer first aid as quickly as possible.
How to identify that someone is choking:
- Inability to talk
- Difficulty breathing or noisy breathing
- Inability to cough forcefully
- Skin, lips and nails turning blue or dusky-coloured
- Loss of consciousness
What to do
If choking is occurring, the Red Cross recommends a five-and-five approach to delivering first aid:
- Give 5 back blows. First, deliver five back blows between the person’s shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.
- Give 5 abdominal thrusts. Perform five abdominal thrusts.
- Alternate between 5 blows and 5 thrusts until the blockage is dislodged.
NHS choices website describes how to administer these life saving procedures to children and babies.