I’m a paramedic and this is the leading cause of choking fatalities worldwide (and it’s not grapes)
- Paramedic Nikki Jurcutz has shared why balloons are the top choking hazard
- Said the difficulty is they don’t get dislodged with back blows or pressure
A top paramedic has revealed why balloons are the leading cause of choking fatalities worldwide, and what you should do in case of an emergency.
Nikki Jurcutz, who is a working paramedic, mum and the CEO of the parenting organisation Tiny Hearts Education, shared a video on Instagram detailing why it’s not just grapes you need to be worried about when it comes to choking – but balloons.
‘Balloons are the leading cause of fatal choking worldwide,’ Nikki said in the clip.
‘They’re a massive choking hazard that some parents ban altogether.’
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A top paramedic has revealed why balloons are the leading cause of choking fatalities worldwide, and what you should do in case of an emergency (Nikki Jurcutz pictured)
Nikki explained that because they are ‘really light’, flimsy and ‘wet from the saliva inside them’ balloons easily get stuck in a child’s airway – and can potentially block it.
‘Remember that because it’s a really light, sticky area and the balloon is really light and sticky too it’s even harder,’ Nikki said.
‘The difficulty with these non-food choking items is that they’re actually really difficult to get out even with back blows or any type of pressure.’
She said that with hard food items like peanuts or grapes, back blows work well at dislodging the item and quickly expelling it.
But with a balloon, even if a back blow works, it will quickly get stuck to the other side ‘rather than becoming loose and popping out like we see with other choking hazards like grapes’.
Nikki said the best approach with balloons is prevention.
‘We need to really watch our little ones with balloons, they are a massive choking hazard,’ she said.
‘You don’t need to do a hard no balloon rule although I know some people do. Instead, I say no playing with deflated balloons, if it pops, bin it immediately, have constant supervision around balloons, and after the party, the balloons go.’
Nikki added that education is also key, and she always tells her kids how dangerous deflated balloons are.
When it comes to what to do in the case of a balloon getting stuck in the airway, Nikki said the first thing you need to do is call an ambulance, and then begin back blows and chest thrusts
When it comes to what to do in the case of a balloon getting stuck in the airway, Nikki said the first thing you need to do is call an ambulance.
‘Start choking treatment including back blows and chest thrusts,’ Nikki said.
‘If your child becomes unconscious, start CPR.’
Thousands who saw Nikki’s clip were quick to thank the paramedic for sharing her handy advice:
‘This is why we are not allowed to have them in childcare and people don’t understand why,’ one commenter posted.
‘And never let children try to blow up balloons because if they accidentally inhale it can get sucked down their throat. I’ve heard of this happening to adults too,’ another added.
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