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Choking: A Serious Risk for Infants, Elderly Residents

Did you know that choking and suffocation are the 3rd leading cause of at-home and community fatalities in the country. In most of these cases, foods are the culprit.

But when we’re talking about young children, small toys, marbles, nuts and even coins can get caught in their throats. Choking can cause a simple coughing fit, but can also turn into something more serious — like a complete blockage of the child’s airway. In many of these more serious cases, death results, according to the National Safety Council (NSC).
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Our Boston personal injury attorneys understand that choking can happen to people of any age, but children who are under 3-years-old are the most vulnerable. Also, older adults face an increased risk of choking on food.

For kids who are younger than 1, everything goes in their mouths. They stick food, household items and anything else they can get their hands on into their little chompers. It’s important for parents to not only keep these small items away from their kids, but to always become familiar with the signs of a choking child.

Signs of a Choking Child:

-Unable to make sounds, like crying.

-Letting out a soft cry, a weak cough or both at the same time.

-Having a tough time breathing.

-Turning blue in the skin.

-Losing consciousness.

-High-pitched or soft sounds while trying to inhale.

Preventing Choking:

-Always keep small objects out of reach of infants and other small children.

-While a child is eating, make sure that they’re sitting. Never allow them to move or run around.

-Always cut up their food into bite size pieces.

-Only give them a tiny amount of food at a time.

-Never give a child any hard candy.

Choking is the third leading cause of at-home injury for residents over the age of 76. These risks peak when they turn 85 and it becomes the second leading cause. Failing to thoroughly chew food is the number one cause of these accidents, but consuming alcohol, chowing down too fast and health conditions also increase the risks.

Signs of a Choking Adult:

-Gagging or coughing.

-Pointing to or clutching the throat.

-Suddenly being unable to talk.

-Wheezing.

-Losing consciousness or passing out.

-Turning blue of the nails, lips or skin.

If you see someone choking, your best bet is to call 9-1-1 right away. If you’re familiar with how to complete abdominal thrusts to clear the victim’s airway then do so. If you have young children in your household, you’re urged to get certified in CPR and other lifesaving techniques.

If you are choking and you’re home alone, even if you can’t speak, call 9-1-1. Emergency responders will still handle a phone call even if there are no details given. You can attempt to clear your airway yourself by thrusting your mid abdomen on something firm, like a chair or a table or even a railing.

If you are able to clear the airway, it’s important for you to seek medical attention anyways. There could have been damage done to your airway and you may face increased risks for an future choking incidents.

If you or your child has been injured, contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call 877-617-5333 today!

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Massachusetts’ Safe Routes to School Gets 500th Partner!, Boston Personal Injury Attorney Blog, October 1, 2012

Are You Seating Your Child Properly in A Car Seat?, Boston Personal Injury Attorney Blog, August 23, 2012