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When to call 911 if your child has trach problems


Call 911 if your child has one of the following problems and the steps below do not help.

If your child has thick mucus and is having trouble breathing, follow these steps.

  1. Have your child cough with force.
  2. If coughing does not clear the mucus, suction your child’s trach to remove it. (See “Do you know … How to suction a trach.”)
  3. If your child still has trouble breathing, change the inner cannula if there is one. Or change the entire trach.
  4. If your child is still having trouble breathing, call 911. Use the ambu bag to pump air into your child’s lungs until help arrives. You should give one (1) breath every 3 seconds.

If your child’s trach tube falls out partly or all the way, follow these steps.

  1. Replace the trach right away with the spare trach. If the same size trach will not fit into the stoma, use a trach that is a half size smaller.
  2. If the smaller trach does not fit, close your child’s mouth and nose and use the ambu bag to pump air into your child’s stoma. You should give one (1) breath every 3 seconds.
  3. Call 911. Keep using the ambu bag until help arrives.

When to call your child’s doctor

Be sure to call your child’s doctor right away if you have one (1) or more of these problems:

  • You are not able to put in the same size trach, so you have to use the half-size smaller trach.
  • Your child has any signs of having to work harder to breathe.
  • Coughing does not remove your child’s mucus, because the mucus is getting thicker or there is more of it.
  • The mucus starts looking yellow or green or has an odor.
  • Your child has a fever. This is a temperature by mouth of 100.4 degrees F (38.0 degrees C) or higher. Or your child has an underarm temperature of 99.4 degrees F (37.4 degrees C).

Important telephone numbers

For all medical emergencies, dial 911.

Primary Clinic Number: ______________________ Primary Team CNS:___________________________

St. Jude operator for after hours: 901-595-3300 or toll-free 1-866-2STJUDE (1-866-278-5833)


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).