When it comes to safety and your children, everything seems terrifying. Of course you're overly cautious about everything, and even a bump or scrape is sure to break your heart. But, when it comes to serious things, like choking, education is the best way to be prepared. You may have taken a CPR or Heimlich course before you had your baby, but it's always a good idea to brush up every chance you get. The telltale gagging cough can be a sign of choking, but there are silent signs your baby is choking, too, and you need to look out for them.
According to Dr. Daniel J. Levy, MD, FAAP, associate professor of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, coughing is the number one sign that something is partially blocking the upper airway. "If the child is making noise with the cough," Levy tells Romper, "the upper airway is not completely blocked. However, if the child is making cough-like movements without making noise, the airway is completely blocked." So, silence is a good indicator of a choking scenario, as coughing means that at least some air is passing through the airway.
Because babies are still learning how to chew and swallow, and because they are prone to explore their worlds by putting everything in their mouths, it's important to stay vigilant. Be sure to watch your baby while they eat and play, and try to keep all potential choking hazards out of their reach. Here are a few other signs that your child could be choking.