A mom is urging all parents to learn basic first aid after her son almost died after choking on a common children’s snack.
When Ashlie Johnson decided to cut up a few apple slices to give her son Declan as a healthy snack, she never imagined it could nearly cost him his life.
The mom-of-four said the two-year-old was happily watching television and chomping on the bite-sized fruit slices when the horror unfolded.
Just minutes later, her little boy let out a “weird scream” and appeared to be trying to cough as his face went bright red.
Neither the mom nor her partner Tyson had a first aid certificate, but used their instincts to help their little boy bring up the stuck piece of fruit.
But when a few hard thumps to his back failed to help clear his airway, they called an ambulance that rushed over to their Toowoomba home in Queensland.
“He was walking towards me with his arms up, wanting to be picked up, but he was red in the face and trying to cough,” Ashlie recalled.
“He eventually coughed, and was coughing quite hard and quite profusely.”
Declan was rushed to Toowoomba Base Hospital where an X-ray revealed there was a small piece of apple lodged in his lung.
The toddler was sedated and flown to Queensland Children’s Hospital in Brisbane to see a specialist, after attempts to shift it failed.
Declan had to undergo emergency surgery to remove the piece of fruit.
“Before surgery, they thought that the apple had moved in his lung, which caused his oxygen levels to drop,” the mum explained.
“He was in distress and he was starting to go blue. They put him onto a ventilator so they could run his whole breathing for him.
“We flew to Brisbane, he pretty much went from the helicopter to the theatre.”
One hour after being admitted, the parents were relieved to hear that Declan’s surgery had been successful.
The next day, the toddler was given the green light to go home.
“I was so happy to hear he was okay,” she said.
“They weren’t sure whether he would have had to go to ICU or be kept on a ventilator but he didn’t need to, which was great.”
Ashlie is now raising awareness about the importance of understanding basic first aid, in particular how to deal with a sudden choking episode.
“What I have found since, is that some parents may not recognise the signs of choking,’ she said. “There needs to be more information regarding them. I’m still learning a lot, it’s all a learning curve.”
Medical experts have urged parents not to try and remove a blocked object from a child’s throat with their fingers, as this runs the risk of pushing it down further.
Instead, try to encourage the child to cough, and if that fails, call triple-0 straight away.
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