St John Ambulance, the nation’s leading first aid charity, is bringing you some simple, but life saving, first aid tips – this week: a choking baby (under 1).

Breathing is vital to life. Every time we breathe, we not only take oxygen in but breathe carbon dioxide out. Without oxygen the cells of the body will start to die in about three minutes.

Choking is caused by a foreign object that is stuck at the back of the throat that may block the throat or cause muscular spasm.

Your baby may be choking if they suddenly become distressed, have noisy breathing, if they are unable to cry or cough. In some cases, they may not be able to make any noise or breathe.

What you need to do

Slap it out
• Lay your baby face down on your thigh and support their head.
• Give up to five back blows between their shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.

Check their mouth
• Lay your baby on your thigh face up.
• Carefully pick out any obvious objects with your fingertips.

Squeeze it out
• Using two fingers, give up to five downward chest thrusts.
• Check the mouth. If the obstruction hasn't cleared, call 999/112 for emergency help.

Call 999 or 112
• Take your baby with you and call 999 or 112.
• Repeat the above steps 1 to 3 until help arrives.
• If they become unresponsive at any stage, open their airway and check their breathing.
• If they’re not breathing, start CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation ‒ chest compressions and rescue breaths).

For those looking for quick, easily accessible first aid information, the St John Ambulance app is available free on smartphones and the website www.sja.org.uk offers demo videos  and lots of free advice.

Article supplied by Kate Rutsch