SLC paramedics save choking infant

Posted at 6:22 PM, Feb 25, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-25 20:28:29-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- A 6-month-old Salt Lake City child nearly died after he swallowed a small toy Saturday.

A Salt Lake City family called 911 when their infant swallowed the toy, which blocked the child’s airway.

Salt Lake City Fire Department and paramedics arrived on the scene to find the infant with the toy stuck in his trachea.

“The baby had almost stopped breathing,  was almost unconscious, he was changing colors it was really close to not making it,” said Jasen Asay, spokesperson for SLC Fire.

After trying a few things to remove the toy, Asay said, paramedics began to transport the child in an ambulance.

During the transport a small amount of blood began coming from the boy’s mouth. There was an immediate urgency to dislodge the toy in order to save the infant’s life.

“One of the paramedics held the baby and held the mouth open and the other one used the Miguel Forceps to reach down inside and with a little patience and a lot of training and some fines the paramedic was able to grab ahold of the toy and slowly but surely pull it out of the trachea out of the throat so the baby could breath,” Asay said.

“Over the years there`s been a variety of things but going back 25 or more years ago we had a little kid that choked on a small turtle,” said Clair Baldwin, Division Chief of Medical Services of SLC Fire Department.

From turtles and toys to hot dogs and coins paramedics know that if it's small enough to fit in a child’s mouth, its big enough to get caught in their throat.

“We go on about 24,000 medical calls a year and only 75 chokings a year we don`t see that many but we train for them but what the best thing you can do is prevention at home,” said Capt. Ty Shepherd,  SLC Fire Medical Services Division.

Officials say a good rule of thumb is that if it's small enough to fit through a toilet paper roll it's too small for kids to have.