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Three quarters of parents could not save their baby from choking

Parents have been urged to learn the lifesaving techniques. Credit: British Red Cross

More then three quarters of parents would not be able to save their baby from choking, a new survey has found.

Just 24% had the skills and confidence to help a newborn or small child, the British Red Cross has found.

Choking is a risk for youngsters, either from food or other household items like coins that they sometimes pick up and put in their mouths.

The techniques for dislodging items caught in the windpipe is different for babies than for adults.

The British Red Cross is now urging all parents to learn the potentially lifesaving skills.

Babies can be very curious and love to explore their surroundings by putting things in their mouths, especially when they’re teething.

No parent wants to be in the situation where their baby is choking and they don’t know what to do, but helping is easy when you know how.

If every parent in the UK knew just a few simple first aid skills, they could be empowered to deal with the everyday injuries and illnesses that their baby may face.

– Joe Mulligan, head of first aid at British Red Cross
Parent Lindsay Ritchie saved her four-year-old son Logan after he choked on a grape. Credit: British Red Cross

How to save a baby from choking

  1. Give up to five back blows. Hold the baby face down along your thigh with their head lower than their bottom. Hit them firmly on their back between the shoulder blades up to five times. If back blows do not dislodge the object, move on to step two.
  1. Give up to five chest thrusts. Turn the baby over so they are facing upwards and place two fingers in the middle of their chest just below the nipples. Push sharply downwards up to five times.
  1. Call 999. Call 999 if the object does not dislodge. Continue with cycles of back blows and chest thrusts, until the object dislodges, help arrives, or the baby becomes unresponsive.

How to save a child from choking

  1. Give up to five back blows. Hit them firmly on their back between the shoulder blades. If back blows do not dislodge the object, move on to step two.
  1. Give up to five abdominal thrusts. Stand behind them and hold the child around the waist. Pull your hands inwards and upwards above their belly button.
  1. Call 999. Call 999 if the object does not dislodge. Continue with cycles of back blows and abdominal thrusts, until the object dislodges, help arrives or the child becomes unresponsive.
Babies need different first aid to clear their airways. Credit: PA

The survey of 2,008 parents across the UK also found that 20% have not learnt any first aid.

And a third of parents of babies under two said they had never been on a first aid course.

The current British Red Cross campaign comes ahead of World First Aid Day on 9 September, which encourages everyone to think about learning safety skills.

Joe Mulligan, the head of first aid at British Red Cross, said they ultimately hope to teach all children lifesaving techniques through classes in schools.