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New advice for dealing with a Choking Baby

Would you know what to do if your child began choking? If the answer is β€˜no’ – you are most certainly not alone.According to a survey published today, a third of parents admitted they have been in a situation where their child has started choking and half of them said they did not know the correct procedure for clearing an obstruction.

St John Ambulance, the British Red Cross and St Andrew’s First Aid have recently updated their advice on dealing with infant choking – after the results showed that although over half (58 per cent) of parents feel confident dealing with basic first aid such as cuts, bruises and burns, a staggering 57 per cent said they would struggle to deliver first aid for more serious incidents including choking.

The new technique involves placing the baby face down along the thigh while an adult strikes the child’s back. Experts say this gives the infant more support compared with previous advice, which was to place the baby along the adult’s arm.


β€œIf an infant is choking then, in the first instance, they should be laid face down along your thigh and supported by your arm, give them five back blows between the shoulder blades with your heel of your hand,” says St John Ambulanceβ€œPreviously this was done along the arm but the leg is felt to be more secure and provide more support. Check their mouth for any obstruction.

β€œIf there is still a blockage then turn the infant onto their back and give up to five chest thrusts. Use two fingers, push inwards and upwards against their breastbone.

β€œIf the obstruction does not clear after three cycles of back blows and chest thrusts, call for an ambulance and continue until help arrives.”

For an older child, the advice is to bend them forward and give up to five blows between the shoulder blades with the heel of your hand. Check their mouth and if choking persists, stand behind the child put your arms around them and put one fist between the navel and the bottom of their breastbone.

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