I saved my choking baby
When Shane learned first aid, he had no idea he’d have to use his skills one day to save his baby daughter. This Father’s Day, he shares his story.
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Shane and his daughter Georgia. Photo: Victor De Jesus
When we were expecting our baby girl, Georgia, my partner and I attended a British Red Cross first aid session at the Manchester Baby & Toddler Show. We learned what to do if a baby is choking – I remember sitting down and practising on the doll. I probably didn’t take it all that seriously at the time, as I never expected to be in the situation of having to do it. But thankfully, something went in that day.
“Just do it, she can’t breathe”
When Georgia was six months old, I was looking after her at home one day. She wasn’t very well: she had a cold and was very snuffly. She ended up being sick, and because she was so bunged up she started choking on her vomit. She was making a few noises and then she stopped.
I was panicking, but I remembered practising on the doll, and I was thinking, “Do that, just do it, she can’t breathe.” I put her face down along my leg with her head pointing down towards the floor.
Then I started striking between her shoulder blades to try and make it come out, doing the back blow technique I’d been shown. After three or four back blows it all came out – it was thick mucus that had clogged her airways.
She was weak and limp so I called 999. They stayed on the phone with me until the ambulance arrived. The paramedics took her to hospital to be checked over. But by the time we saw the doctor she had perked back up again and they said there was no lasting damage. It was a horrible experience: it’s something I never want to do again.
I remember waiting at the hospital with Georgia and my partner rushed in – she had been out at a gym class at the time. I’m a tough bloke, but I must admit that when she walked through the door and I explained what had happened, I was absolutely in tears.
That knowledge saved her life
Georgia and I were close before, but after that event she’s absolutely stuck to me like glue – it’s like she knows what happened.
I had no idea I’d retained the knowledge until it came to the crunch. That’s when something instinctively kicked in and I remembered what I’d been shown. It worked when it was needed and that’s it. That technique saved her life.
What to do if a baby is choking
- 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.
- 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, repeating up to five times.
- Call 999 if the object does not dislodge.