To remind you that real choking is silent

(68 Posts)
54321nought Thu 05-Aug-21 18:35:48

A child choked in front of me on the train last week. The parents were chatting together over her head. I pointed out she was choking and the father banged her on the back and she coughed up the food. They hadn't noticed. She was about 3 or 4. They probably thought they didn't have to watch her eat any more. So I am just reminding you that real choking is completely silent

OP’s posts: |
Nixandwotsit Thu 05-Aug-21 18:44:35

Thank you for this, people do need to bear it in mind.

StarfishDish Thu 05-Aug-21 18:46:11

@54321nought Thankyou for reminding people and thank goodness you were watching and saw the child choking!

Dunkling Thu 05-Aug-21 18:47:29

So true.

Also, I remember the trainer in a resuscitation class we took yearly as staff at our hospital (non clinical) , that if someone disappears hastily from a table etc while appearing agitated, to check on them as it is very common in adults to feel embarrassment while also in panic mode.

cate16 Thu 05-Aug-21 18:47:45

Good post.
Grapes and cherry tomatoes (any 'round' food really) should still be cut into at half up to around the age of five at least.

NoWordForFluffy Thu 05-Aug-21 18:49:50

Yes, good reminder.

Also, on the first aid course I did, the tutor said that you have to hit a choking person far harder - and for far longer - than you would think in order to dislodge the trapped item / food.

RavenclawsRoar Thu 05-Aug-21 18:50:46

Yes the only time I've ever seen the heimlich in real life was at a cafe on a woman - she'd been totally silent, surrounded by her friends/relatives and suddenly this other woman rushed over and started hitting her on the back (I thought she was attacking her at first!!), then moved to the heimlich. Luckily she managed to dislodge it that way and the woman was taken to hospital crying and shaking. Terrible and honestly not a sound to indicate she was in distress.


Hollyhocksarenotmessy Thu 05-Aug-21 19:04:55

Yes, and if someone is coughing and spluttering, it's not helpful to start pounding them fast on the back so they aren't able to take any air in.

Bitter experience when something went down the wrong way, and I thought I was going to suffocate when a 'helpful' person decided to stop me breathing altogether by knocking all air out of me rapidly and repeatedly. I had to almost punch them off.

But yes, look for silent 'frozen' people or those who suddenly run off when eating.

HerRoyalRisesAgain Thu 05-Aug-21 19:07:49

Loud and red let them go ahead, silent and blue they need help from you.

flossletsfloss Thu 05-Aug-21 19:09:45

@HerRoyalRisesAgain that is such a good way of remembering it.

ForeverSinging Thu 05-Aug-21 19:15:11

My dad choked in a restaurant. He was loud and red at first but very very quickly went silent and purple as I remember. It was awful, one of the worst things I've ever seen.

IGuessIdProbablyBeAnne Thu 05-Aug-21 19:23:58

Well done OP, and thanks for the reminder.

chocolateoranges33 Thu 05-Aug-21 19:39:25

I choked in a restaurant a few years ago on a piece of steak and it was the scariest time of my life. I was with my family and couldn't make a single sound at all - I was so petrified. They were all talking and no-one noticed I was choking. Luckily I was sat with my DH rather than the DC thankfully and I was able to grab his arm to get his attention and he cleared it after what seemed like hours but was probably about a minute. You have to hit the back MUCH harder and for much longer than you expect. Don't worry about hurting them - the most important thing is to clear it so they can breath.

kravestix Thu 05-Aug-21 19:47:43

Choking is so scary. Happened to my 18 month old. He was in his high chair and started choking on a piece of chicken. DH slapped him on the back but nothing. DS started turning blue. Quick sharp, DH had to unbuckle him, pull him out of the chair and place him over his knees. The two of them on the kitchen floor. DH was smacking his back. Finally, the piece of chicken flew across the room. DS was completely silent. Such an awful thing. I'll never get the picture out of my head. The colour he was. Not sure how I'd have managed if DH hadn't been there.

TodaysFishIsTroutALaCreme Thu 05-Aug-21 19:51:49

Holywood has a lot to answer for. Same principle for heart attacks.

Thank you OP. I never knew this but I will remember

Tanith Thu 05-Aug-21 20:14:59

I’d like to add that if someone appears to be choking, but not silent (e.g. able to talk), it may be an allergic reaction and also an emergency.

My DS once had an anaphylactic shock reaction and I thought he was choking because he was coughing hard and complained of something stuck in his throat. It was actually his airway swelling up.
Had he been choking, he wouldn’t have been able to speak.

iolaus Thu 05-Aug-21 20:17:01

I remember once choking in work, genuinely thought I was going to die - no sound and couldn't get any air past

I worked in a hospital - thankfully a colleague realised what my motions were - because the other colleague in the other room thought we were messing around when she called for help - took a LOT of banging to dislodge it

Should never eat salad - stupid tomato

AngryWhompingWillow Thu 05-Aug-21 20:18:17

Thanks 'nought' Very interesting and helpful info!!!

toocold54 Thu 05-Aug-21 20:18:30

Loud and red let them go ahead, silent and blue they need help from you.

Love this!!

Thank you for sharing this OP as I didn’t know myself!

Wam90 Thu 05-Aug-21 20:23:36

Thanks for the reminder.
If someone is coughing and red then it’s best to leave them l to clear it themselves so you don’t hit them on the back thinking your helping and end up moving the object to obstruct the airway.

Wam90 Thu 05-Aug-21 20:24:15

@HerRoyalRisesAgain love that!

Lifeispassingby Thu 05-Aug-21 20:27:03

@cate16 Grapes and cherry tomatoes and the like should be quartered not halved xx

Lachimolala Thu 05-Aug-21 20:27:19

This is very true! Only one out of my three to ever choke was my daughter, who was actually 3.5 at the time.

I vividly remember after I’d done the short sharp blows and managed to dislodge the apple (which I’d peeled and chopped up!) and everything had calmed down, how shocked I was that she was completely silent. I’d literally turned my back for a second to wipe my youngest’s face and turned back round and she was going white and mottled clawing at her neck completely and utterly silent.

I’ve never seen anything like it, I tell people all the time what happened because until I saw it for myself I really didn’t realise how quiet they are but also how fast it happens. Just terrifying.

cate16 Thu 05-Aug-21 20:57:39


*@cate16* Grapes and cherry tomatoes and the like should be quartered not halved xx

Yes, sorry that should have said 'at least in half'

hedgehogger1 Thu 05-Aug-21 21:04:07

I remember choking at primary school. I was terrified and no one noticed. I tried to wash it down and the drink came out my nose instead!

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