Baby choked during rotavirus vaccine today

posted 2 years ago in Babies
Post # 2
Member
723 posts
Busy bee

Dr. bee here. Little ones do get extremely upset while getting vaccines, and they do kind of make themselves “choke” when they get so worked up. Your baby was safe, probably just hated the taste of it like most infants do. Nurses will often put more in the mouth to encourage swallowing, this might not look great from a parents perspective, I totally get that, but your baby was safe. To be honest, most babies cry during vaccine time, so we will kind of just shove the dropper near the back of the throat to get it over with as quickly as possible for them. Babies under a year old have a swollen epiglottis is the throat which prevents them from being able to suck water into their lungs, so i can assure you that although it appeared he was choking, he was not, so rest easy and know that he was okay. And yes, the vaccine contains either 4 or 5 live strains of rotavirus, depending which brand you use, but it is just as safe as any vaccine that uses dead virus, no worries.

Post # 3
Member
2123 posts
Buzzing bee

Not a nurse, but my Mother-In-Law is a nurse who dealt specifically with little ones for a long time, and I have several nurse friends. Your baby wasn’t choking, and although I’m sure it was scary as a new parent, the nurse knows what she’s doing. If he were really choking, she wouldn’t have continued. 

Kudos to you though for letting her do her job and not intervening, for vaccinating your baby, and for keeping yourself informed. I think sometimes doctors and nurses forget that us lay-folk don’t know what’s going on, and they might need to explain to us what is happening or what to expect 😊

Post # 4
Member
151 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

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Elrodien :  
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garnobella :  
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macpartyoftwo :  “Babies under a year old have a swollen epiglottis is the throat which prevents them from being able to suck water into their lungs” 

What!?? I am a neonatal and pediatric ICU nurse. You say you’re a doctor — Please explain what you are talking about here because i can’t for my life figure out what you could possibly mean. A swollen epiglottis (epiglottitis) is life threatening and very dangerous. And babies can 100% choke. I cannot fathom what you could be talking about. 

OP— I’m sure your little one was ok. Yes she should have probably waited for him to stop crying to give him the drops – crying during oral intake can definitely lead to choking. But I’m sure he was fine. It’s hard to see our little ones struggle but as 

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garnobella : said she likely would have stopped if he was in danger. 

Post # 5
Member
632 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

That sounds like it could have been handled better. My pediatrician always has the mom or dad hold the kids for vaccinations to help them stay calm. Next time you come in, see if they’ll let you do that.

Post # 6
Member
632 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

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mlacake29 :  I think macpartyoftwo is talking about how babies can drink and breathe at the same time? Far as I understand, their throat structure is a bit different from an adult’s. It’s always puzzled me how they can nurse while lying on their back… pretty sure I’d choke if I tried drinking from a straw while lying down.

Post # 7
Member
1988 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

Are them real nurses in doctor offices? Medical assist not good like real nurse

Post # 8
Member
151 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

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bubbles00 :  Nope not a thing. Babies have slightly different anatomy, but not in the way that you’re describing. Babies actually shouldn’t drink from a bottle lying down — because they can choke. The reason they often don’t is because the amount of liquid coming out of a nipple is so small. But if they drink too fast or the nipple is too big, they totally can. You could drink from a tiny straw (sitting up) while breathing – you just have to focus on breathing from your nose. Babies are obligatory nose breathers so this is not an issue.

Breastfeeding is totally different, in that the nipple flattens and goes all the way into the back of the baby’s throat and requires a very specific sucking motion. BFing doesn’t cause milk to pool in the back of the baby’s throat like bottle feeding does. 

It’s very different than a straw. You could breastfeed laying down too, you likely just haven’t tried πŸ˜‰

Post # 9
Member
723 posts
Busy bee

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mlacake29 :  My apologies, was rushing and explained that pretty poorly. The epligottis in small infants will essentially close off the airway to prevent the infant from sucking water into their lungs because of the way it is forming (long and loose). Babies can choke (have their throat blocked), but the water shouldnt be sucked into the lungs. 

Post # 10
Member
151 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

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macpartyoftwo :  Ok, that definitely makes more sense. Yes this is how it is supposed to work, but babies can aspirate too. Dyspagia and GERD aren’t uncommon in babies, and at 4 months likely wouldn’t have been diagnosed yet. The clinical signs of choking/aspirating are as OP described.

Like I said, I’m sure baby was fine, but the nurse definitely could have let baby calm down and swallow before continuing, if for no other reason than he may have spit it up and not gotten the full vaccine.

Post # 11
Member
723 posts
Busy bee

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mlacake29 :  If only everything worked the way it was supposed to 😊

I do agree that the doctor and nurse here did seem quite rushed! 

Post # 13
Member
1861 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

Personally, I think it is worth the two minutes of time to let the baby calm down.  Perhaps your baby was not in danger.  No.one on here can tell you if your baby was choking or not, but babies can certainly choke.  I would have been most worried about the baby gagging or vomiting though, when something is shoved into the mouth while crying.  Regardless, it sounds like a generally unpleasant experience.  Kids have to go to the doctor for years to come, and though some crying is probably inevitable, it is nice if you can give your baby a mostly positive experience.  It is also nice if they can give you a positive experience as a parent. (And for what its worth, my daughter actually liked the rotovirus vaccine.)  I once left the office livid because the nurse was not paying attention and, in her needless rush to get my daughter’s shirt back on after a vaccine, threw her pacifier across the room onto the floor.  It really makes a difference when people take their time, and I think sometimes medical staff forget how important that can be.  It is hard for parents to do something that we know will hurt our child, and it is so appreciated when the doctors/nurses really take the time to minimize the suffering we have to cause.

The doctor’s priority may be getting the vaccine into the child, but as a parent, it is not wrong to also prioritize creating positive associations with the pediatrician’s office.  I would not be afraid to speak up if your child needs a moment.

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