Wednesday, March 4, 2009


One night at the dinner table, the subject of choking came up. I used it as a springboard to teach the kids the little I know about how to help someone who is choking. I showed them the Heimlich maneuver, how to use a chair on yourself if you are all alone, and even how to tilt a baby downwards and how and where to hit them on the back.

I was mainly teaching the kids, but it was Bayo who was really looking at me in amazement. When I finished, he said, "I've never heard of any of those things in my life, and I've never seen or heard of anyone who died from choking."

He continued, "In the village, whenever someone was choking, a woman would stick her hand down the person's throat and the object would come out." I guess the whole idea was to trigger the gag reflex.

I wonder why I was never taught that method? Probably because of fear of pushing the object further down the throat.

As a mom, I'm especially cautious with hot dogs, meat, carrots, and oranges. We generally cut our oranges into sixths with the peel on. Then we use our teeth to pull it off the peel. It takes a fair amount of bulky chewing before it can be swallowed. The oranges here cannot be peeled and divided into sections.

A few years ago an American friend related this story: his sister, a neo-natal nurse, had been attending a Christmas party for medical personnel and their families. A 2-year-old started choking on a piece of hotdog. Those highly trained people did everything they knew how to do, but the boy died right there at the party.

No comments: