My three sons have learned a new phrase in the past few weeks:
A curious, crawling eight-month old baby loves to find things and put them into her mouth--things that I might miss, that the boys lazily leave lying around. Things like candy wrappers, coins, band-aid peels. Things that could easily cause a baby to choke.
We've had a few incidents.
The first involved the peel from the back of a band-aid. I didn't know one of the boys had gotten a band-aid, unwrapped it, and left the wrappers on the floor. Little Lauren was crawling around the kitchen, and suddenly, I heard her gagging. Nothing puts more panic in the heart of a momma than to see her baby's face turning red as she's gagging and struggling to get air.
I turned her over my leg, thumped on her back several times, and prayed. Fortunately, a few days before, I had asked my husband what you're supposed to do if an infant is choking on something, if turning them over and thumping them on the back doesn't help. He reminded me that you're supposed to look in the mouth and finger sweep the item out if you can see it or feel it.
That's when I could see the band-aid peel stuck far back on the roof of her mouth, going down her esophagus. I prayed that I could quickly get it out, without pushing it down further.
Doing this on a frantic baby is about as easy as it would be on a cat. It was sight unseen, but it worked. The wrapper came out.
It took all day for my nerves to calm down.
Since then, we've had another scare with another kind of wrapper or piece of construction paper(I can't remember what it was; I only remember the gagging and turning red). Just today, I had to fish a Hershey's kiss foil wrapper out of her mouth.
While extremely scary, these ordeals have been a great kick in the pants for the boys to learn better habits. They cannot be so lazy, for lack of a better word, to just peel something and let the wrapper drop and lay. They cannot take coins out of their piggy banks and leave them on the floor. Everyone must pay super close attention to what is on the floor and remove anything that could be a choking hazard.
As for me, I need to diligently sweep the kitchen and vacuum other rooms, watching closely for little items that may not be a big deal normally but are a huge deal with a baby.
Looking on the bright side, having a baby can be a huge motivator to step up one's home management.