Tuesday, 6 August 2013

How to save your child's life (if they are choking or drowning)

My husband and I did a children's first aid course when our daughter was a couple of weeks old. It was the kind of course where you sit on a beanbag on the floor and everyone speaks in what I can only term a 'registrar's voice' - pauses where there should be no pauses with an exaggerated serenity. Serves us right for doing it somewhere called the 'Active Birth Centre'. It was great though and made me feel that I might actually know what to do in a crisis.

It has also given me what I suspect will be a lifelong fear of grapes when the teacher told us that we shouldn't just be cutting grapes in half for toddlers, but for older children too, and even for adults, as the size and smooth surface of the skin makes them prime candidates for choking incidents. I'd dismiss this as over the top except a friend told me that she asked a paramedic once what words were most likely to give them a sense of dread when rushing to a call and he replied 'toddler' and 'grape'.

My son had a choking incident when he was a few months old. I don't know whether I was remembering the course without thinking about it or whether instinct just kicked in. Either way I managed to flip him upside down and get him to cough up the mucus he was choking on bringing him from maroon to white very quickly and averting disaster. Mostly I have dealt well with this incident, because I feel at peace with the way I handled it having done my job as a mother and made everything okay. Still, I think about it every day. And I still cut grapes in half.

Consequently I want to flag up this brilliant article by my friend, the journalist Kate Hilpern, whose daughter suffered a similar episode, and which every parent, in fact everyone parent or not, should read.

I thought she was dying

And also another great article that was flagged up on a forum I use recently, on how to spot if someone is drowning.

Drowning doesn't look like drowning

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