Almost every parent of a young child has had concerns about their child having an object stuck in their throat. It’s just a fact of life, if a small child can pick something up chances are they are going to try to put it in their mouth. Usually, whatever the child tries to swallow passes through the throat just like food would, but in some cases, they are not so lucky. Dr. Saad Saad discussed these dangers and what to do if your child has swallowed something dangerous.
For children 6 and older, the Heimlich maneuver can be performed in order to free the object from the esophagus or windpipe. To perform this you stand behind the child and thrust your hands firmly into their abdomen below their rib cage. This generally can dislodge many objects, but you must take precautions in order to not injure them further. Dr. Saad Saad suggests that younger children must be approached with a different method to dislodge objects from their throat that involves holding them upside down and patting them with your palms on their back until they cough up whatever is stuck. These methods do not work all of the time and medical attention is sometimes needed immediately to resume proper breathing.
Dr. Saad Saad has removed many interesting objects from children’s throats during his decades as a pediatric surgeon, some of them more harmful than others. Many of these objects can be identified through the use of x-rays while others need to be seen using cameras such as endoscopes. Dr. Saad Saad actually created an improvement to the endoscope that allows for a more clear picture free of obstructions.
It’s important to remember that some swallowed foreign objects will require immediate medical attention even if they manage to pass through onto the digestive tract. Anything poisonous needs to be removed before it can cause damage to the body when allowed to be digested. One of the main concerns that Dr. Saad Saad addresses is that of batteries. While children do tend to get a hold of AA’s and AAA’s, these are swallowed far less often than button batteries that are contained in various electronics. These can easily become lodged deep in the throat, but they are even more dangerous when they reach further into the digestive tract due to leaking battery acid. Make sure you don’t leave batteries around and always make sure that all batteries are secure.
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