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Anti-choking suction devices WARNING

In moments of panic and urgency, especially when it comes to child safety, we often grasp for solutions that seem quick and effective. One such solution that has gained attention in recent years is anti-choking suction devices.

Marketed as a solution to quickly remove small objects lodged in a child's airway, these devices seem like a lifesaver at first glance, however all is not what it seems.

Stories about these devices circulate on social media from time to time, often accompanied with videos marked “honest review”, with a link to click on so you too can buy one of these life saving devices.

After all, why wouldn’t you? Of course you don’t want your child to choke. Often the language and images on these articles can be very emotive and there are usually anecdotes from people who claim to have used them and they were effective.  After using a device and mask to dislodge an object from someone’s throat, customers can get a new device kit “for sanitary reasons.” They can fill out a form attesting that they saved a life using the device thus becoming a success statistic.

I am unsure as to whether such statistics are collected for unsuccessful use of the devices.

Anti-choking suction devices operate by creating suction to dislodge objects from a child's throat. While this may sound like a straightforward solution to a terrifying situation, the reality is far more complex. These devices may cause harm if not used correctly or if used on children who are not choking on small objects. Anti-choking suction devices have not been adequately tested on children.

While they have undergone some testing on adults, mostly on plastic mannikins and cadavers, the anatomical differences between adults and children are significant given that children’s airways are much smaller and the surrounding tissue much softer.

No suction device has been endorsed or recommended by any medical authority anywhere in the world.

Manufacturers themselves state that back blows and chest or abdominal thrusts are the always the starting point. These have been PROVEN to be the most successful means of relieving a Foreign Body Airway Obstruction and that is why they ae used medical professionals, first responders and first aiders worldwide. Because they have been clinically proven to be most effective.

Sadly though, if a parent has one of the devices at home and a child is choking, they may skip the back blows and chest thrusts because they fear hurting the child.

The devices themselves require the user to be trained to obtain a good seal and some medical professionals have stated it was difficult to get a good seal. 

Imagine a panicking mum trying this for the first time on their own child who is really is choking.

The purpose of back blows and thrusts is to move the object so that the person can cough it out.

In my career I have successfully cleared many airway obstructions using back blows and chest thrusts or even magill forceps

While these suction devices are marketed well, and there are many ways they can be  bought online, there is simply not enough evidence that they work, and there is no suggestion that they should be a substitute for  traditional methods and CPR.

Remember, medical research and reviews do not come with links to a seller.

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