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Gail Gould on KPRC 2: Essential Choking Prevention Tips from CPR Expert Gail Gould

National Choking Awareness Day was this past March 28th, and is a crucial time to learn life-saving skills that could make all the difference in an emergency. In this special feature, Gail Gould, Houston’s renowned CPR and safety expert, shares essential choking prevention tips during her appearance on KPRC 2. Whether it's a holiday like Easter with its risky candy treats or any regular day, understanding how to prevent and respond to choking can save lives. Join in as Gail demonstrates simple yet effective techniques to keep your little ones safe from common choking hazards.

Owen Conflenti: Today is choking awareness day, and, you know, Easter's around the corner. Another holiday with this lot of candy, so we're gonna brush up on how to prevent our kids from choking.

Sofia Ojeda: And how to save someone's life if you see them choking as well. This morning, we're here with Houston CPR and safety. Lady Gail Gould, good morning, Gail. Thank you so much for being here with us.

Gail Gould: Thank you for having me here. So, yes, today is National Choking Awareness Day. And, of course, Sunday is Easter. And I don't think people realize that Easter is kind a big choking day. Yeah. And the reason is these chocolate eggs Oh. Are just the right shape and size to obstruct a child's airway and cause choking. And so we're recommending instead of giving your child these little mini eggs and these chocolate Cadbury eggs, possibly a safer option would be a hollow chocolate egg, a large hollow chocolate egg Okay. And break it into pieces. And of course, I'm talking about kids like age 4 and under are gonna be a greatest risk for children.

Sofia Ojeda: Okay. Can I just adjust your mic? Yeah. Really quickly. 

Owen Conflenti: Go ahead because you're hearing it.

Sofia Ojeda: It's just a little it's just a little sorry about that, everyone.

Owen Conflenti: We look forward to that demonstration coming your way in a moment.

Sofia Ojeda: Okay

Owen Conflenti: Let's go back to what we were talking about, Gail, and the the kinds of things we need to avoid to keep our kids safe.

Gail Gould: Yes. So, in Easter, again, avoid these small Cadbury chocolate solid eggs, because they can be a choking risk. A better option, again, would be the large chocolate hollow egg, break it up in pieces. And with the large plastic eggs, instead putting small trinkets and toys, maybe consider putting in stickers, temporary tattoos, or toys that are large enough for kids not to choke on.

Sofia Ojeda: And we were talking about different types of common choking hazards and, you know, obviously, for Easter, we wanna talk about the candies, but there are some common ones that for little ones you really have to cut up and watch out for.

Gail Gould: Yes. The 2 foods statistically we know the kids most commonly choke on are whole hotdogs and whole grapes. So we tell people, do not give kids end of the age of 4 whole hotdogs or whole grapes. Cut the hot dog lengthwise and into quarters. And same with the grape, cut it lengthwise and into quarters. But peanuts, popcorn, hard candy. In fact, American Academy of Pediatrics direct American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not giving kids under the age of 5 hard candy.

Owen Conflenti: Oh, yes. So, as I said, regardless of the age with, you know, if you if you think or you notice the child's having trouble breathing, what's the first step? I mean, in my mind, I'm like, I I'm panicking. I don't even know what to do. I'm gonna grab the kid, turn them over, and start smacking them and reach in there. I don't know what to do.

Gail Gould: I'm so glad you asked me that. So, for kids over the age 1, this is what you do. Now you'll know they're choking because choking is mostly silent. If they are forcefully coughing, speaking, breathing normally, they are not choking. It's when they stop coughing, they give you a weak ineffective cough, they have a high-pitched crowing noise that sounds like this. Their face turns pale, their lips turn blue, their chest becomes concave. This is what you do for anyone over the age of 1, Owen.

Owen Conflenti: Over the age of 1.

Gail Gould: Over the age of 1. So, I'm gonna stand right behind them and then you're gonna make a fist. You're gonna so go ahead and try this on yourself. Make a fist, place your thumb inside the fist. Now, these are called knuckles, so these are gonna be pointed straight to the ceiling. Place it right above your belly button, right above the navel, other hand on top and then inward upper thrust. Almost like you're trying the Nike swoosh in hand.

Sofia Ojeda: Okay.

Gail Gould: So, this is called an abdominal thrust or choking relief.

Owen Conflenti: Like under the rib cage? Yes.

Gail Gould: Well, up of the rib cage.

Sofia Ojeda: Okay.

Owen Conflenti: And don't be afraid to really go in. Give it a go.

Gail Gould: That's exactly right. You know, I did this to my son. He was choking on a jelly bean when he was met, Ada and I. It just took 2 little thrusts and jelly bean came flying right out. I did this to a grown man. You gotta apply a lot more force to a big person. But this is what you do to anyone over the age of one who's choking. But I do wanna emphasize, choking is mostly silent. Right. Correct. So if they're forcefully coughing, they're not choking. Just stand there and observe them. It's when they stop coughing. Do you want to step in and render aid? And here's what you're doing.

Owen Conflenti: Remaining time. I want to make sure we get to this demonstration here.

Gail Gould: So, for an infant under the age of 1, again, choking is mostly silent and babies gag a lot. You know, they cough and they gag and they calk of their gagging. Do not step in the saying they like to use is loud and red, let them go ahead. Silent and blue, they need help from you. So the baby's silent, the chest is concave, so if her baby, you're gonna turn them upside down, the head lower than the feet. I wanna make certain you can see this. They're gonna give 5 back slaps right in between the shoulder blades. How am I gonna know if it comes out? The baby's gonna scream, cry. You don't hear any noise and he's screaming. You turn the baby face up right beneath the nipple line and the vertical axis of the sternum. You're gonna give 5 chest thrusts. 4, 5, and then you're gonna look in the mouth. And if you see it sweep it out, you wanna avoid putting your finger there and blindly fishing around. Because if the cavity of their mouth is about that big, you might push it farther down. If you don't see anything, keep your fingers out of their mouth. Now you're gonna get 5 back slaps Okay. And 5 chest thrusts. And you continue this until the object is expelled. Wow.

Owen Conflenti: Is there anything beyond that? If you don't find that working, you don't wanna jam your finger in, there's nothing that you're calling 911, you rush into the ER, what do you do after that?

Gail Gould: Well, this is extremely effective. I've done this. It is very, very effective.

Owen Conflenti: The chances of that failure are very slim.

Gail Gould: Yes. It's very, very effective, but God forbid it doesn't work, then they're gonna become unresponsive.

Owen Conflenti: Are there any devices or things that have been that have come to market suction, anything that's effective or that you would recommend?

Gail Gould: We don't recommend those. They're not steeped in research. There are no major medical organizations that endorse those. So, and the only people that that write testimonials are the manufacturers. So, this is what we recommend.

Owen Conflenti: This is the tried-and-true way of protecting your children from choking.

Gail Gould: And you know, Owen, I've literally talked to 1,000 and thousands of people who successfully done this. Okay.

Sofia Ojeda: Thank you so much, Gail.

Owen Conflenti: Mark this on the website. Yes. Can save it and then and refer to it when they need it.

Sofia Ojeda: Yeah. Thank you for this amazing lesson.

Owen Conflenti: You don't wanna wait until they're choking to go back and watch the video. You need to be fully able to practice. Know what you're doing.

Sofia Ojeda: Thank you, Gail.

Gail Gould: Thank you.

Joining KPRC 2 for National Choking Awareness Day was a truly remarkable experience. As a passionate advocate for safety and preparedness, my goal is to equip everyone with the necessary life-saving techniques to ensure they can respond confidently and effectively during emergencies. The opportunity to collaborate with the KPRC 2 team and share this crucial knowledge was an honor, and I hope it has inspired each viewer to take action towards safety.

The hands-on demonstration was designed to provide clear, actionable steps that anyone can follow to prevent and manage choking incidents—skills that could save a life. If you feel motivated to learn more and ensure that your family, friends, or workplace are prepared, I encourage you to contact me for comprehensive CPR and safety training. Let's not wait for an emergency to remind us of the importance of readiness. Reach out today, and together, we can take significant steps towards creating a safer environment for everyone. Connect with Gail Gould now and embrace a proactive approach to emergency preparedness.

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