"Also, in the heat of the moment, parents who rush to the ER might forget to bring the source of the possible poisoning, leaving ER providers with limited information to determine the child's treatment."
Choking can be a life-threatening emergency. But results of the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health found only half of parents felt they’d know what to do if face with a child who was choking.
Most of the survey participants said their immediate response to choking would be to try to dislodge the object using the Heimlich maneuver, they would use their fingers to try to remove the object causing the choking, or they’d hit the child on the back. About 25 percent of parents polled said they’d turn the child upside down.
Almost a third would call 911 if their child was choking, and eight percent said they’d head straight to the ER.
However, a child who is choking and in a potentially life-threatening state needs immediate help, not the delay of being carried to an ER, according to Freed. Even if parents call 911, it’s important to be familiar with first aid measures to help their child immediately
Be prepared for childhood emergencies
But how do you know when and how to perform the Heimlich maneuver or other ways to stop choking? And how do know the best ways to treat cuts or burns and other accidents, large or small, involving your kids? Freed advises being prepared by taking a first aid course.
The Mott Children's Hospital National Poll On Children’s Health revealed four in 10 parents had never received any first aid training at all — and they were the same parents who were most likely to have little confidence in making decisions about potentially critical emergency situations with their kids and when to take children to the ER.
Ten percent of parents polled had received first aid training within the past year, and 24 percent had training one to five years ago. It had been five years or even longer before about 23 percent of parents had any first aid training.
"Even with appropriate supervision, young children experience urgent medical scenarios, and many parents may be unprepared. We found that parents who had recent first aid training were more confident in handling common medical situations," Freed said.
For instance, while one in 10 parents polled would take their child to the ER for a minor burn, learning from a first aid course about how to handle that type of accident would prevent unnecessary ER trips.
"In some cases, such as a small burn, parents would likely be able to consult a first aid resource to guide their response,” Freed explained. “Other situations, like choking, are clearly more time-sensitive and require immediate action. First aid training can help parents stay calm and manage the situation more effectively."
February 27, 2020
Janet O’Dell, RN