Real Talk

What To Do If Your Child Is Choking

by Rosie McKay

For me the tragic choking death of Alby Davis is a stark reminder that kids are unpredictable and knowing the right first aid is a must...
See Need Want Motherhood What To Do Choking

The tragic choking death of Tasmanian child Alby Fox Davis on a bouncy ball larger than a 50c-piece has shaken me to the core. The story has a been playing on repeat on my mind and like so many mums out there it was a stark reminder that this could have been any one of us. As we parents know, kids do unexpected things all the time, and my heart and thoughts have been with Alby's family, especially his mum, Anna, since this story hit the headlines. Again, all I keep coming back to is that "this could have been me". 

Like really....Just two weeks ago I turned to the gagging sound of my almost four year-old son, Samson, to see he had shoved a large bouncy ball (slightly larger than the one Alby choked on), in his mouth. I instantly yelled at him and of course told him to never to do it again, but didn't throw the ball out. Like so many I assumed that it would be too big for him to swallow... needless to say it and a few others are now in the bin, along with any small toys or toy that I felt would be a choking hazard. With my 9-month old daughter, Maia, on the move and Samson in this scary phase of sticking weird and wonderful things in his mouth, I'm taking no chances. 

And then it hits me again, this could have been me and I have absolutely no idea what to do. Zero. I haven't even done a CPR course! Shit. The questions flood my mind. What steps do I need to take. How long do I have? Should I ring 000 straight away? Do I perform the Heimlich manoeuvre (a first aid procedure used to treat upper airway obstructions (or choking) by foreign objects - see video below)? Iis this even the right method for a child? How do you perform it properly? 

Any it's clear from talking with friends in the days since this story hit headlines I'm not alone. These are the same questions so many other mums are asking themselves too, and looking to various children-focused health business for the answers. Having been flooded with so many enquiries about choking first aid, Tiny Hearts First Aid are making it their mission to educate as many of us as possible and have popped this free choking workshop. So, if like me you have/ had no idea what to do in the case of choking, I urge you to do two things:

1. Read this Choking First Aid information sheet courtesy of Tiny Hearts First Aid. This alone has armed me with the knowledge of the best steps to take should a child choke in my care. 

2. Watch  the Tiny Hearts First Aid free choking workshop HERE or any other one you find online. Basically do whatever it takes to get the first aid know-how you will need in the case of an emergency. 

While I would do anything to change the outcome of this story, it can not be, so instead I say thank you Alby, through your story so many more lives will be saved. Rest in peace darling boy. 

You can donate to the Go Fund Me campaign started for the Davis family here.

How To Perform The Heimlich Manoeuvre

For choking in adults use the Heimlich manoeuvre  - a first aid procedure used to treat upper airway obstructions (or choking) by foreign objects. Here's an easy how-to video.

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