Young children face choking risks

In Sainte-Foy, Que., a 20-month-old choked to death a week after an un-popped popcorn kernel got stuck in her throat. The kernel absorbed saliva and expanded to nine mm within seven days, growing large enough to completely block the trachea.
Each year, young children in Canada are at some risk of dying as a result of suffocating or choking. And in fact, almost 100 die from these causes.
Two-thirds of the children who die do so as a result of suffocation that has a mechanical cause, such as small object or strangulation by ropes or chords.
One-third die as a result of suffocating on food.
Young children are at risk from choking on small, round food such as hotdogs, croutons, candies, nuts, grapes, marshmallows, raisins, and popcorn.
Most playground strangulation incidents involve entanglement. The typical entanglement scenario occurs because something a child is wearing gets caught on equipment; often on slides or swings.
Clothing, scarves, mittens, jackets strings, and jacket hoods have become entangled in various narrow gaps between equipment components, openings, or holes at the top of slides on vertical posts, and on hooks.
Ropes, jump ropes, and leashes, either attached to equipment or being worn around a child’s neck, also have been implicated in playground strangulation deaths.
Most choking hazards can be prevented by inspection and correction.
Here is a guideline and sample of some choking hazards to look for (this list is not comprehensive–it is meant to assist families in taking steps to prevent childhood injuries):
•your baby crib is built after 1986, which means the bars are well spaced to prevent strangulation;
•blind and drapery cords are cut and secured with cord wind-up, and are out reach of children;
•non-food items such as coins, balloons, marbles, and buttons are kept away from young children;
•clothing drawstrings, ribbons, necklaces, neckties, belts, leashes, and rope are kept away from young children;
•children remain seated when chewing food;
•plastic bags are kept away from young children; and
•that innocent container of baby powder is out of sight and reach of young children.
< *c>Know what to do
Every year in Canada, people die from choking, strangulation, and suffocation because people who had witnessed the accident or found an unconscious person did not know what to do.
Quick action and knowing what to do is the vital first link in a chain of survival that can save someone who is choking, has stopped breathing, or whose heart has stopped.
Take CPR for example. Its techniques have been around for more than 25 years yet it is estimated only about 10 percent of Canadians know how to do CPR!
Want to save a life such as a friend or someone you love? Sign up for a First Aid/CPR course today!
Remember: If you never need what you learn about personal safety, you have lost nothing. But if you never learn what you need, you may lose everything . . . your family and your life!

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