The Burp, the Follow-Through, the Choke: What All Parents Need To Know

The Burp, the Follow-Through, the Choke: What Every Parent Needs To Know


My son is two and he has choked at least five times that I can count. He has also had at least four ‘bad’ incidents of being really sick in the car – whether it was moving or not.

Once he found a dried apricot in his car seat that had been there for god-knows-how-long and it had turned into a little rock. He choked on it and it was lodged in his throat. He started to turn blue soundlessly and I am so thankful that I was sitting in the car in a car park when it happened (not driving).

On that occasion I quickly got out of the car and ran to his aid, flipped him onto his tummy across my knee and firmly patted his back. The apricot dislodged and was followed by a power-chuck over everything, everywhere.

A lot of the other times he choked were also in the car.

Once he choked on the way back from a Christmas party. It was on a lollipop shard we didn’t realise he had in his mouth..

Once he choked on the way to a coffee date. It was on his own vomit due to car sickness.

Once (yesterday), he had a tummy bug and he choked on his own vomit again. It just kept on coming and he didn’t get a breathing break. (Never estimate the volume that fits inside a small child…)

Once I even had to pull over on the highway in order to race to his aid.

On the bright side, out of all of these incidents, only one was serious enough to require intervention (the apricot) – but they have been a common enough occurrence that I have made sure that I know what to do when it happens.

Choking is a nightmare for parents. Firstly (and most obviously) because it is ridiculously scary how something ‘easy’ (and necessary) like eating can be so hazardous. And it is more than alarming to see your little one struggle for air because of something going down the wrong way.

Secondly, it is ridiculously messy. It seems the mathematical formula for working out volume (width x depth x height) is not particularly useful in determining exactly how much can fit inside a little one’s belly. The volume can be exponential. Just when you think there surely can’t be anything left, there is…

Every parent needs to know how to deal with choking, how they can manage and prevent choking incidents and how they can minimise the stresses of cleaning up the yucky stuff when it is all over.

Here are my tips:

1)      Know infant CPR and how to deal with choking in infants

2)      Check the car seat for discarded food that could turn into choking hazard regularly.

3)      If doing Baby Led Weaning – ensure that foods are soft and easy to swallow to prevent choking.

4)      Always keep your child seated when eating (not running around). This is also a much better strategy for keeping carpets clean. (We use a Splat Mat and encourage friends with children to seat their children on the Splat Mat rather than mush food around our house…)

5)      Always pack a full spare change of clothes for your baby

6)      Always pack a full spare change of clothes for yourself (I forget this one all the time!)

7)      Use a Carseat Splat Catcher

These are designed out of experience. I did not enjoy my first experience of wiping vomit from between the creases of my car seat nor did I enjoy the all-too-familiar smell that lingered in the car. These mats catch the yucky stuff and you can just hose it down when you get home. Much easier – and no need to valet your car!

8)      Always carry a large bottle of water in the car (for washing hands/washing babies/offering drinking water to upset babies when they have been sick. You can even wash down the car seat splat catcher on the side of the road if you have enough water left over).

9)      Carry a spare towel in the boot for big spills or an infant’s hooded towel to dress them in when they are sick.

10)   Use a large Splat Mat in the boot in your car (this means you can put your soiled clothes in the boot and not worry about soiling the carpet of the car as well!)

11)   Always supervise toddlers when they are eating larger items (apples seem to be a recurring choking hazard for us – either whole or chopped – these are a must-supervise item!)

12)   Display a Baby on Board Sticker on your car

I like to think that this excuses me for stopping in unusual stopping areas when I have a child who needs me in a hurry. It also warns other drivers that you may need extra space on the side of your car when you are hanging out the rear doors tending to children on the roadside.

13)   Use your hazard lights if you are pulling over suddenly in the car. Vomiting children qualifies as a hazard I reckon.

14)   Use a clip-on additional child safety mirror to attach to your rear vision mirror in the car so that you can easily monitor children without needing to turn around while driving.

15)   Have a Splat Mat handy for home sickness. (You  can seat your sick child on a Splat Mat to help minimise clean up when they are sick. Or put one beside the bed with an ice-cream container for them to use at night. Or keep one under the bed to dump soiled sheets on when things get messy.

What are your best safety and clean up tips?

Proudly brought to you by Outie.

Our Splat Mats are made from up-cycled advertising and are an easy green equation:

Lessy messy = lessy stressy

NB: Image  credit linked to image.


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