How to Prevent Choking in Babies and Children

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Mini First Aid has highlighted the importance of parents being aware of and helping to prevent choking in babies and children.

The UK’s largest specialist Paediatric First Aid training company, Mini First Aid, found in a recent survey that choking is one of the main concerns for parents of young children. Over 60% stated that choking is their biggest fear, particularly when going through the weaning process. Teaming with mum-of-three Giovanna Fletcher, Mini First Aid has shared some valuable information on how to prevent choking in babies.

How to Prevent Choking in Babies and Children

It’s vital that all parents and carers know how to deal with a baby or child who is choking, emphasise Mini First Aid. To keep babies safe, foods need to be ‘squishable’ between the thumb and forefinger (no raw apples or carrots) and need to be roughly ‘baby fist’ size or ‘chip’ sized. This is to enable babies to hold food securely and gnaw off what they can manage.

Avoiding round or cubed pieces of food such as cubes of cheese and whole grapes is important, too – many parents don’t realise that bigger pieces of food are actually safer and easier to manage than little chunks when it comes to choking.

Mum-of-three, author, podcaster and blogger Giovanna Fletcher took part in choking training with Mini First Aid recently, held to make parents aware of the risks of choking and how to deal with a choking situation should it arise. “Learning CPR and what to do when a child is choking is invaluable,” said Giovanna.

“Obviously, I hope I never have to use the things I learned in today’s class, but horrible things happen and knowing these techniques can really make a huge difference. The class was fun and accessible given the seriousness of the topic and I would highly recommend everyone doing it.”

Giovanna Fletcher

Dealing With Choking

Parents may naturally worry during the weaning process, but gagging is a normal and natural part of weaning your baby – it’s how your baby’s body naturally protects itself. If your baby is gagging, they are more likely to be making loud noises with coughing and gurgling sounds, whereas if your child is choking they may be silent or make a high-pitched noise. Mini First Aid have outlined below the steps that should be taken if your baby, toddler or child does get into difficulty with choking.

Choking in Babies (aged 0 months-1 year)

  • 5 back slaps
  • Up to 5 chest thrusts (jabbing motion). Check if anything comes out – if nothing has come out, call 999
  • Cycles of 5 back slaps & 5 chest thrusts

Choking in Children (aged 1 year+)

  • Encourage child to cough
  • 5 back slaps between shoulder blades – check if anything comes out and check mouth
  • Up to 5 abdominal thrusts. Clenched fist between tummy and breastbone, with other hand over the top in an ‘in and upwards’ motion. Check if anything comes out – if nothing has come out, call 999
  • Cycles of 5 back slaps & 5 abdominal thrusts

Thereafter, you must always refer to hospital any child or baby who has been choking and where abdominal manoeuvres have been used.

Mini First Aid offers classes across the UK to help parents learn these vital techniques – find a class near you at minifirstaid.co.uk. To make sure you have all the necessary first aid supplies at home, you can also buy an award-winning Mini First Aid kit (as featured on Dragons’ Den in June 2020) at minifirstaidshop.co.uk.

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