Mum’s urgent warning to parents after baby son almost died choking on snack
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A mum has issued an urgent warning to parents to be aware of basic first aid after her baby almost died from choking on a snack. She shared the scary ordeal here:
Earlier this month, Ashlie Johnson desperately tried to remove a bite-sized piece of apple from her toddler Declan Hodge’s throat when he started to choke, but was left horrified after several slaps to the back failed to dislodge it.
The mother of four said: "I'd given him some apple slices, I turned around and he let out a really weird scream.
"He was walking towards me with his arms up, wanting to be picked up, but he was red in the face and trying to cough.
"He eventually coughed and was coughing quite hard and quite profusely.”
The cleaning attendant called for an ambulance ‘less than a minute’ after her two-year-old son started to choke while her partner Tyson Hodge, 34, kept trying to perform first aid on the tot.
Declan was rushed to hospital, where X-rays showed a small piece of apple became lodged in his lung.
Doctors in Queensland, Australia, were unable to remove the object during the 90-minute procedure so the child, who was beginning to turn blue, was sedated and placed on a ventilator.
Ashlie said: "When he went into the theatre, we were told it should only take half an hour to an hour.
"But we waited for over an hour and a half and obviously we were getting quite worried. They then informed us that they couldn't get the apple out of his lung.”
Declan was then lifted by air ambulance to another hospital to be looked at by specialists who were eventually able to retract the piece of fruit.
Ashlie states: "We flew to Brisbane, he pretty much went from the helicopter to the theatre.
"I got a phone call about an hour later saying that they had got the apple out of his lung and that he was in recovery.
"It was taking him some time to wake up but he was doing really good.”
Ashlie was so relieved to hear that her baby boy was doing better after the terrifying ordeal.
"I was so happy to hear he was ok because they weren't sure whether he would have had to go to ICU or be kept on a ventilator but he didn't need to, which was great."
Thankfully, Declan recovered quickly from the terrifying choking episode and was given the all-clear to go home the following day.
Now, Ashlie is encouraging parents to learn how to carry out choking first aid and to remember to call for medical help straight away if a child starts choking.
The Toowoomba, Queensland native said: "There was always that fear in the back of our heads that we could have lost our baby - or that we still could.
"We don't have our first aid certificate, we basically went off our instincts as parents that something wasn't right,” she admitted of her gut feeling which led her to make the call that saved her son’s life.
"My advice is to follow your instincts and don't hesitate to call the emergency services.
"You can never be too safe - it's better to be safe than sorry."
The NHS also suggest to cut hard fruits like melon and apples ‘into slices instead of small chunks’ for babies and young children.
They add: “For very young children – try grating, mashing, steaming or simmering firm fruits.”
St John’s Ambulance choking first aid:
- Cough it out. Encourage them to cough and remove any obvious obstruction from their mouth.
- Give five back blows - help them to lean forwards, supporting their upper body with one hand.
- With the heel of your other hand give them five sharp back blows between their shoulder blades.
- After each back blow, check their mouth and pick out any obvious obstruction.
- Do not touch the mouth as this could push the object further down the throat.
- Give five abdominal thrusts - Squeeze it out. If back blows fail to clear the obstruction, give five abdominal thrusts.
- To do this, stand behind them and put your arms around the child's waist. Place one hand in a clenched fist between their belly button and the bottom of their chest. With your other hand, grasp your fist and pull sharply inwards and upwards up to five times.
- Check their mouth again, each time.
- If the blockage has not cleared, call 999 or 112 for emergency help straight away.
- Repeat five back blows and five abdominal thrusts until help arrives, rechecking their mouth each time.
- If they become unresponsive at any point prepare to start child CPR.
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