Healthy At Home: Preventing Aspiration in Children

Amy Long Carrera, MS, RD, CNSC, CWCMS
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist | Shield HealthCare
08/10/12  8:32 PM PST
preventing aspiration in children

Being at home with a new child can be stressful, especially if there is a history of feeding intolerance or reflux. Aspiration in children is a serious and common issue and parents or caregivers should be aware of the signs and symptoms.

Preventing Aspiration in Children

Aspiration occurs when solid foods or liquids enter the airway and lungs. While there may be observable signs that accompany aspiration events such as coughing, choking, eye reddening, or wet vocal quality after swallowing,infants and children can also aspirate silently, or with no observable symptoms.

Techniques for prevention include:

• Keep the child’s head elevated >30 degrees during a feed and for at least 30-60 minutes afterward

• Avoiding sitting the child at a 90 degree angle during or after feeding

• Try smaller, more frequent feedings

• Consider prokinetic agents or antacids, as directed by a physician

• Work with a feeding team or specialist to determine the best treatment plan

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