Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Choking Hazard

People with Down's Syndrome generally have a very high palette and a large tongue. This can make eating quite a challenge if the food is unruly! My daughter used to choke on a regular basis and it is very scary. She has choked on a wedge of soggy biscuit which lodged itself in her palette (someone thought it a good idea to give her a biscuit in each hand); hard fruit and veg - apples and carrots are difficult to chew and control in the mouth; a frozen strawberry - this was terrifying as she was a teenager at the time and I discovered that I can't administer the Heimlich manoevre - luckily my partner could; sweets - she has now learned to refuse any confectionary that looks like it might cause problems; the list goes on!

Your child may well not have a problem eating, but do keep an eye when they are small and trying new foods. I have seen a child I worked with choke on a carrot given at snack time when it was thought a good idea to eat snacks in the playground; the little boy I currently work with tended to scarf down a banana in two or three bites like a pelican - could easily cause problems.

Teach your child to chew thoroughly and not stuff too much in their mouths at once. If necessary, make sure 'danger' foods are cut into manageable pieces before being given. Learn what to do in an emergency - it's pretty straightforward and could save a life.

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