Weekly First-aid Topic: Be vigilant to coins
From:Beijing Municipal Health Commission

A shining five-cent coin is attractive to a kid with strong curiosity. She may want to taste it and bite it. When a kid puts the coin into her mouth while the adult is not paying attention, the coin may get stuck in the airway, causing severe airway obstruction, difficulty breathing, and even life-threatening danger.

On the evening of April 24, 2024, the Beijing 120 dispatch and command center received a call for help from a parent. The dispatch doctor captured the key information from the panicked words. A 5-year-old girl had her airway stuck with a coin. The dispatch doctor quickly inquired about the address, dispatched a nearest ambulance to the location, and turned on the Advanced Dispatch Life Support System (ADLS) for telephone medical guidance. The dispatching doctor instructed the family members to perform the Heimlich maneuver. "She spit it out! She spit out a coin! There may be more." "Continue to shock five times and see if the child can speak now? Can she breathe?" "She’s okay now!" The parent answered with joy. "Then you could observe the child. Don't give her anything to eat or drink, and check if there is anything else in her mouth. The ambulance will be here soon. I will inform the doctor about the current situation immediately." The ambulance soon arrived at the scene.

After the ambulance delivered the child to the hospital, the emergency doctor reported that after preliminary inspection, the child's airway obstruction had been relieved and her vital signs were stable. For safety reasons, the emergency doctor recommended sending the child to the hospital for further examination. The ambulance sent the child to a nearby hospital after the parents agreed.

Here are some health tips from Beijing 120. Young children are at a certain age when they are very curious about the world. One of the ways they understand the world is to touch, taste, and use various senses to understand the things around them. Although coins are small, they can become "dangerous toys" for children. As guardians, parents should teach their children safety knowledge and the meaning of coins. It is necessary to tell the children not to put objects in their mouths casually. While improving safety awareness, it is also important for parents to learn necessary first aid knowledge and skills on a daily basis. The Heimlich maneuver is simple and easy to learn, and can relieve airway obstruction emergencies effectively and avoid tragedies.