A suffocating baby is any care-giver’s nightmare. Suffocation occurs when there is little or no oxygen supply. It’s an unpleasant experience and could cause death if oxygen supply is not restored quickly. Anybody, irrespective of age can suffocate but it’s infinitely easier for babies and young children to suffocate with the most unlikely objects or in unsuspecting situations.
A baby can suffocate if her head gets completely wrapped up in say, her bedsheet, shirt/dress, nappy, blanket, pillow case or maybe a light nylon bag. They can also suffocate if they’re locked up in a car especially if it’s hot, an empty fridge/refrigerator, your travelling box, the trunk of a car or even their toy chest if it’s big enough.
Here’s what to do:
Do not panic but think and act quickly. Assess the situation and figure out your next line of action.
The next line of action will most likely be to free them from whatever is suffocating them. Find out the best way to get their heads, especially nose and mouth free from the suffocating agent. If it’s the car, trunk or box carry them out into the open where there’s free flow of oxygen. Place them lying with their face up on a firm flat surface.
Feel for Pulse & Breath
Quickly now, check if they’re breathing by placing your cheek close to their nose and mouth. Also check for a pulse, a sign that his/heart is still beating. Do this by placing a finger or two on the side of his neck, just by the Adam apple or on the inside of their arm between armpit and elbow. You should feel a pulsing movement even if faint to show that their little hearts are still beating.
The full meaning is cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. It’s a procedure meant to jump start spontaneous breathing and heart beat in a person who is no longer performing these functions by reflex. To perform this on a baby, gently push the baby’s head back so that the chin is slightly lifted. Cover the baby’s nose and mouth with your mouth and gently blow air into the lungs. Do this twice with a three second interval in between and then wait for say five seconds before repeating the procedure.
For older children, pinch and block their nostrils and blow air in through their mouths. Repeat this routine until the baby starts breathing. Voila! You just brought a baby back to precious life.
In concluding, keep these suffocation agents out of reach of the baby. Stuff like light nylon bags (teach them not to make masks of empty nylon bags), shirts/ dresses, loose beddings (ditch small bedsheets that get undone), nappies and towels. Make sure you always lock your big boxes and keep them out of reach of these children. Get rid of unused fridge/refrigerator doors if not the whole darn thing. Try to stay alert until the baby has grown up because if it’s not one thing (suffocation) it will be another concern that requires you to save your baby.