Carrie Owen shared her story with parenting site Channel Mum and explained her son Toby had managed to get a 2cm bouncy ball (the type often found in party bags) lodged in his throat.
Owen noticed when Toby came towards her holding his throat as he was unable to breathe. Both and she and her partner tried to dislodge the ball, but nothing helped. They called an ambulance and meanwhile, a friend tried to help by performing CPR.
“Watching that being performed on your own child is a vision I will never be rid of,” she shared on Facebook on 2 April. “He managed only a couple of short laboured breaths and went in and out of consciousness. On two occasions he stopped breathing, his body went limp, eyes in the back of his head. We all thought the worst.”
The ambulance crew arrived at the mum’s house in six minutes and attempted to save Toby by attaching a blade to the ball to scoop it out.
The ball with a satsuma and a 2p coin for size comparison.
“Toby was rushed to hospital as he wasn’t able to breath on his own. He had X-rays and there was a shadow over one lung,” Owen explained. “There was now the worry of infection and any lifelong damage caused due to lack of oxygen to his brain. He was able to, with limited response, nod or shake his head.
“My normal talkative boy wasn’t talking. He was put on antibiotics straight away. He remained on oxygen for over 12 hours and every time they tried to remove it his little body couldn’t cope. He slept longer than he has ever slept in his life. His little body struggling to breath like it should. He kept getting a raised temperature, something else to cause more concern. I couldn’t bare watching my boy so helpless.”
Owen explained during the night Toby started to breathe on his own. His temperature went back to normal and he continued to sleep. The consultant came in his room in the morning and said Toby was going to be okay, “He told me how utterly lucky my little boy was,” the mum added. “The speedy actions of myself, rich, Campbell and my dad making that call, the paramedics saved my boys life.”
Owen and Channelmum have urged parents to ensure they know what to do should their child choke.
How to help a choking child:
If you can see the object, try to remove it. But don’t poke blindly or repeatedly with your fingers. You could make things worse by pushing the object further in and making it harder to remove.
If your child is coughing loudly, there’s no need to do anything. Encourage them to carry on coughing and don’t leave them.
If your child’s coughing is not effective (it’s silent or they can’t breathe in properly), shout for help immediately and decide whether they’re still conscious.
If your child is still conscious, but they’re either not coughing or their coughing is not effective, use back blows. Back blows for children aged under one year: Lay the child face down in your lap as you would a baby. Give up to five sharp blows with the heel of one hand in the middle of the back between the shoulder blades.
If this doesn’t work or the child is unconscious call 999 and start CPR.
For more information, visit the NHS Choices website.