baby sleeping with carrycot cover

Wait, so why don't babies choke on their sick at night?

One of the things that I found most perplexing when I was a new mother was why I should have my baby sleep on their back when they are often sick at night. Aren't we always told to put someone on their side if they are likely to vomit? For babies, however, this isn't the case, and the likelihood of them choking on their sick is not the same as for adults - here's why!

What is "sick" anyway?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let's clarify what we mean by "sick." In this context, we're referring to the mucus, phlegm, or snot that can accumulate in a baby's nose or throat when they have a cold or respiratory infection. It's not the most pleasant thing to think about, but hey, parenting isn't always glamorous!

The anatomy of a baby

One of the main reasons babies are unlikely to choke on their sick at night is due to their unique anatomy. You see, babies have a smaller windpipe and narrower airways compared to adults. This means that any mucus or snot that may be present is less likely to obstruct their breathing. It's like their bodies have a built-in defense mechanism against choking on their own sick!

Babies are natural nose breathers

Another interesting fact about babies is that they are natural nose breathers. Unlike adults who can switch between breathing through their nose and mouth, babies primarily breathe through their tiny little noses. This means that even if there is some mucus or snot present, it's less likely to interfere with their breathing because they're not relying on their mouth for air.

That magical thing called the epiglottis

Now, let's talk about the epiglottis. No, it's not a spell from Harry Potter, although it does sound quite magical! The epiglottis is a small flap of tissue located at the base of the tongue that prevents food and liquid from entering the windpipe when we swallow. In babies, the epiglottis is positioned in a way that makes it even harder for anything to accidentally go down the wrong pipe. So, even if a baby were to have some mucus or snot in their throat, the epiglottis acts as a gatekeeper, keeping it out of harm's way.

Keep calm and trust the baby's body

So, there you have it! Babies have a unique anatomy, natural nose breathing, and a trusty epiglottis that work together to make choking on their sick at night highly unlikely. Of course, it's always important to keep an eye on your little one and seek medical attention if you have any concerns. But for now, you can rest easy knowing that your baby's body has some pretty amazing built-in safeguards to keep them safe, even in the midst of a snotty situation!

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