Experts say placing the baby face down along the thigh offers much more support for while the parent or carer administers blows to the baby's back to tackle choking.
If 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.
Check their mouth for any obstruction. If 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. If the obstruction does not clear after three cycles of back blows and chest thrusts, call for an ambulance and continue until help arrives.
– CLIVE JAMES, TRAINING OFFICER AT ST JOHN AMBULANCE
The change in advice, to be officially announced on March 3, comes as a survey of 1,000 parents of under-fives found more a third (38%) have seen their child choke.
Half of these parents admitted they did not know the correct procedure for helping their child, or ways to clear the obstruction.
New information on the behaviour of babies in the womb may lead to "more understanding" about how children adapt to social situations, regulate stimulation and take a bottle or breast when born.
The study, published in the journal Developmental Psychobiology, found babies in the later stages of pregnancy are capable of touching their lower face and mouth, indicating healthy brain function.
This effect is likely to be evolutionally determined, preparing the child for life outside the womb.
Building on these findings, future research could lead to more understanding about how the child is prepared prenatally for life, including their ability to engage with their social environment, regulate stimulation and being ready to take a breast or bottle.
– Brian Francis, professor of social statistics at Lancaster University
Babies learn about touch while in the womb and can predict, rather than react to, their own hand movements, new research has shown.
Foetuses in the later stages of gestation increased touching between the lower part of their face and mouth, which scientists say is an "indicator" of healthy brain development.
Psychologists from universities in Durham and Lancaster carried out a total of 60 scans of 15 healthy foetuses at monthly intervals between 24 weeks' and 36 weeks' gestation. They used 4D imaging to create scans of life inside the womb.