Expert bodies including the British Red Cross have updated their advice on dealing with infant choking after 57 per cent of parents surveyed said they didn’t feel confident delivering first aid for serious incidents including choking.
The new technique is to place the baby face down along the thigh while an adult strikes the child’s back five times.
Experts say this gives the infant more support than previous advice, which was to place the baby along the adult’s arm, because the leg is felt to be more secure and provide more support.
Afterwards, check the baby’s mouth and if the obstruction is still present, turn the infant onto his or her back and give up to five chest thrusts. Use two fingers and push inwards and upwards against their breastbone.
If the obstruction does not clear after three cycles of back blows and chest thrusts, if you have not already done so, 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.
Grasp your fist with the other hand pull sharply inwards and upwards five times.
Then recheck the child’s mouth to see if the obstruction has cleared.
Again, if you have not already done so, call for an ambulance and continue until help arrives.