Would you know what to do if your child was choking? Four out of five parents don’t – me included. I roughly knew that I should turn a child over and slap them on the back but had no firm ideas about how many times, how forcefully or what to do next.
A new ad by St John Ambulance is tackling our knowledge gap, following research that says that for almost 60% of mothers choking is a major fear. I was lucky enough to get a preview of it last week (it’s great).
Designed to be entertaining as well as informative, it’s not one of those terrible, hard-hitting (excuse the pun) ads that try and shock parents into action. It’s actually more like the memorable Stayin’ Alive/Vinnie Jones ad from the British Heart Foundation a few years ago.
In case you haven’t yet seen it, here is The Chokeables. See if you can recognise some of the famous voices, too:
After seeing the ad we were able to have a practical session and try the technique for ourselves, guided by a St John Ambulance trainer. Obviously you should learn from a qualified person but in a nutshell, here’s what you should do (and here’s a video to show more):
- For a baby, place it across your knee, supporting the head and give up to five back blows, between the shoulder blades (the same for a child, but they can stand and bend over after about 12 months)
- Follow this by turning it over and giving up to five chest thrusts, compressing the chest about a third of the way in for each one
- Repeat these up to three times before calling an ambulance, checking the mouth in between to see if there’s anything easy that can be hooked out. But don’t try and get something that’s too far down – you risk pushing it down further.
I’ve been thinking about taking a baby and child first aid course for a while, so it was great to try this myself and see the best way to hold the child, how hard to hit and where exactly. We also learned about resuscitation for if the child suddenly gets unresponsive – something I felt I knew the basics of but it was great to learn from an expert.
I came home and shared with my husband and he’s looking into courses for himself – there’s a 3-hour St John Ambulance course for around £30, which I think is really reasonable, or a longer session for around £100.
I hope you like the ad enough to pass it on – please share to help save lives.