Airway obstruction is one of the leading causes of unintentional deaths and serious injury among very young children under 1, as well as children under 4. When the airway is blocked, either partially or completely, oxygen cannot enter the lungs and vital body organs, particularly the brain and the heart, are deprived of oxygen. Without adequate oxygen in the brain for more than 4 minutes, an individual may suffer brain damage and even death.
Three of the most common causes of airway obstruction in children are: suffocation, choking, and strangulation. Children can get suffocated by items that cover or block the airways, such as their nappies, blanket, plastic sheets, and pillow. They can choke on tiny objects that can get lodged into the airway and blocking it, the most common being nuts and other food particles. They can strangle themselves on loose cords or items that can become wrapped around their necks, such as window strings or clothe straps. Although most cases of airway obstruction occur in the home, certain medical conditions and accidents may also lead to airway obstruction. Severe allergic reactions can cause the airways to swell, completely blocking airway.
Many cases of airway obstruction in children are due to childcare mistakes committed by parents. Some parents allow their children to sleep in adult bed that increases their risk for suffocation. Putting beddings in infants crib and feeding infants right before sleeping also increase the chances of airway obstruction. Leaving very young children unattended or unsupervised while eating is a leading cause of choking. Giving small toys and tiny household items in children may also lead to airway obstruction.
Providing a safe environment and learning airway obstruction precautions are essential in preventing fatalities in children. As parents you should be aware of the potential hazards in your house, particularly the room of your baby. Be sure to attend to these risks before they can lead to an accident.
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Knowing how to respond in case of an airway obstruction in children, particularly choking is essential in preventing serious injuries and deaths. Pediatric first aid courses equip first-time mums and dads with skills so that they can respond well and manage airway obstruction emergencies. These first aid courses are available through your local workplace approved chapter and other first aid training providers. Usually, pediatric first aid courses are scheduled for a day and can be suited to your hectic schedule.
Becoming a first aid-certified mum and dad is your best gift to your child!