Tracheostomy: What to do in an emergency

PDF download is not available for Arabic and Urdu languages at this time. Please use the browser print function instead

Learn how to identify and respond to the signs of respiratory distress if there is a blockage in your child's tracheostomy tube.

Key points

  • Early signs of respiratory distress (breathing difficulties) include coughing, anxiety and whistling or other new noises from the tube.
  • Late signs of respiratory distress include retractions, pale or blue skin around the eyes and mouth and rattling on your child's chest or back.
  • If there is a problem with your child's tracheostomy tube, check your child's breathing, try to suction the tube and then call 911.
  • When leaving the home with your child, even for a short time, always take all necessary equipment and supplies in a medical travel bag.
Last updated: August 9th 2017