Mini Easter Eggs and Children Choking

Easter will be with us again shortly and although the easter eggs have been in the shops since Boxing day, yes Boxing day if you can believe that one.

It is a well known fact that most children love chocolate and to be fair most adults do too. Have you noticed that children are attracted to ‘mini easter eggs’ these chocolate mini eggs are small spherical in shape and are around about the same size as a child’s airway, this poses a potential choke risk and may prove fatal if not acted upon swiftly in those circumstances?

Although ‘mini easter egg’ packaging carries health warnings stating they should not be consumed by children under 4 years old, its a fact many children choke each year and sometimes can be fatal too, but it is not just mini easter eggs, Maltesers, M&Ms, Smarties are also a big choke hazard too.

Most choking deaths are food related

Most choking deaths are caused by food getting stuck in the airway and it is just not mini easter eggs either, it can be grapes and so they need to be sliced in half to reduce the choking risk in small children and some kindergartens and children’s nurseries strictly forbid these in lunch boxes for this very reason, same with small cherry tomatoes and even popcorn can get stuck in the airway.

So what can parents do to try and minimise the risk of their child choking

  • Keep a close eye on your child whilst they are eating sweets
  • Most children love easter eggs so get them the larger hollow eggs but watch out for small packets of sweets inside the egg.
  • Cut sweets in half so lowering the risk of choking
  • Some children play food games to see how much food they can get in their mouths and this is a serious choke risk hazard.
  • Tossing food and catching it in their mouths and they usually see an adult doing it and are just itching to try it out, again this is a serious choke hazard.
  • Eating and chewing food whilst running around is another potential choking risk, it only takes the child to take a sudden intake of breath and the sweet or food object gets stuck in the airway.

How to respond to a child that is choking

If a child starts to choke, swift action is required and for many parents, guardians, grandparents,  this can be an extremely worrying time for them, but with swift action, you can make a MASSIVE difference to a child that is choking.

A child is from 1 year old up to puberty this may be 11, 12, 13 years of age, younger than 1 year old they are classed as an infant and treatment is slightly different.

choking treatment

Start with Back Blows

If the child is tall stand behind the child, get the child to lean forward placing 1 hand on the child’s chest and use the other hand to ‘slap sharply’ between the shoulder blades, after each back blow check to see if the object has been expelled.

Perform up to 5 Back Blows if the child is still choking then either you or someone else needs to call 999 and tell the operator you have a child who is choking and start abdominal thrusts.

Abdominal Thrusts

Stand or sit behind the child (depending on how tall the child is). Put 1 hand into a fist just under the rib cage, place the other hand over the top of the fist and push into the abdominals and pull up (like a J movement) to try and dislodge the obstruction.

If the child is still choking, perform up to 5 Abdominal Thrusts checking after each abdominal thrust to see if the obstruction has cleared.

If the child is still choking you keep doing up to 5 Back Slaps and then up to 5 Abdominal Thrusts till either the obstruction has cleared or the Ambulance arrives.

Conclusion

Choking is frightening for all parties involved, but with swift action and getting the ambulance on its way to you will give the person who is choking a good chance of survival. If its a child they normally get checked out by a paramedic or the hospital because the soft tissues at the back of the throat may have been damaged by the object.

I witnessed and helped a young mother and her child when her child began choking on a muffin and Lego brick in a coffee shop I was visiting, we did exactly what has been written in this blog, and the child was fine after a trip to the hospital for a check up. Here is the link to the blog.

Disclaimer

Warwickshire First Aid Training has provided this for information only and does not substitute for medical advice. Warwickshire First Aid Training is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis or actions taken on information contained in this blog post.

We strongly advise that you attend a first aid course to understand how to provide assistance in a first aid situation.