Christmas Safety: Heimlich Maneuver
Christmas Day is approaching, which means a celebration of turkey, presents and family are almost here. The holiday represents an unparalleled celebration, and as such, you’ll want to do everything you can to make your Christmas event one that family members and friends won’t soon forget.
Although you may dedicate substantial time and resources to prepare Christmas dinner and get your home ready for your celebration, it is important to note that choking remains a hidden danger that can quickly transform a wonderful holiday event into a life-threatening situation. And if you don’t know how to assist a choking victim, the consequences could be fatal.
The National Safety Council (NSC) points out choking represents the fourth-leading cause of unintentional injury or death in the United States. Choking can happen at any location, at any time, and you’ll want to do everything you can to ensure you can assist a choking victim.
Fortunately, the Heimlich maneuver empowers you to use abdominal thrusts to assist a conscious choking victim. The maneuver enables you to assist someone who can’t cough, speak or breathe and provide immediate assistance before advanced medical personnel arrives on the scene. That way, you may be able to prevent the loss of life if you understand how to perform the Heimlich maneuver properly.
How to Perform the Heimlich Maneuver
The NSC recommends the following steps to perform the Heimlich maneuver:
- Stand behind the choking victim and keep one leg forward between the victim’s legs.
- Reach around the victim’s abdomen and locate his or her navel.
- Place the thumb side of your fist against the abdomen; the thumb side of your fist should be placed directly above the navel.
- Grasp your fist with your other hand and thrust inward and upward to the victim’s abdomen. Perform quick thrusts repeatedly. If you are assisting a pregnant victim and cannot get your arms around her, you should use chest thrusts from behind.
- Continue to perform thrusts until the victim expels the object or he or she becomes unresponsive.
The Heimlich maneuver should not be performed on a choking victim who is under the age of 1, according to the NSC. Also, you should call 911 regardless of whether the Heimlich maneuver is successful to ensure a choking victim receives comprehensive medical attention.
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The Heimlich maneuver represents a life-saving technique, one that you can use to administer quick thrusts to aid a choking victim. It is one of many life-saving techniques that may enable you to deliver critical assistance in emergencies as well.
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