First aid treatment for choking baby

Lifesaving skills: First aid for a choking baby

When a baby is choking, every second counts. Quick and effective action can mean the difference between life and death. In this blog, Rose provides essential knowledge on how to handle such a critical situation, underscored by reliable statistics, legislative guidance, and best practices.

The critical need for choking first aid awareness

Choking is a leading cause of injury and death among infants, primarily because their small airways are easily obstructed. According to the NHS, small objects, food pieces, and other foreign bodies can block the airways and stop oxygen from reaching the lungs and brain, resulting in severe harm or fatality if not quickly addressed. As such, knowledge of first aid for choking is essential for parents, guardians, and caregivers.

Understanding choking and its implications in infants

Choking occurs when a foreign object lodges in the throat or windpipe, blocking the flow of air. In infants, this can happen rapidly and with little warning. Recognising the signs of choking, which include inability to cry or make noise, difficulty breathing, or the face turning blue, is critical for immediate response.

Legislation and regulatory framework

In the UK, the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 require employers to provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities, and personnel to ensure their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work. This extends to settings like nurseries and childcare facilities, where staff must be trained in paediatric first aid, underpinned by the guidance from the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

Best practices in first aid for a choking baby

  • Back blows - Hold the baby face down on your thigh while supporting their head. Give up to 5 sharp back blows with the heel of your hand.
  • Chest thrusts - If back blows don't relieve the choking, perform up to 5 chest thrusts. Lay the baby face up along the length of your thigh, supporting their back with one hand. Use two fingers to push sharply on the chest at a point one finger's width below the nipple line.
  • Call for emergency help - If the object does not dislodge, call 999 immediately.

Key recommendations for caregivers

  • Education and training - Regularly attend certified first aid courses to stay updated with the latest techniques and guidelines.
  • Prevention - Keep small objects out of reach of infants and supervise them during feeding.


The importance of being prepared for a choking emergency cannot be overstated. With the correct knowledge and skills, you can act swiftly and effectively to prevent a tragic outcome. We encourage all caregivers to undertake paediatric first aid training and refresh these crucial skills regularly.

At The Mandatory Training Group, we offer comprehensive paediatric first aid training courses and qualifications that are up-to-date with the latest health and safety regulations. Click here to explore our accredited online first aid training courses and qualifications. Our courses are designed to equip you with life-saving skills and the confidence to use them when it matters most. Ensure you are prepared to act in a choking emergency. Your quick response can save a life.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always seek professional medical assistance in emergency situations.

About the author

Rose Mabiza

Rose has dedicated over 15 years to improving health and social care quality through practice, targeted education and training. Her extensive experience includes working with older adults, individuals with mental health conditions, and people with autism and learning disabilities.

Lifesaving skills: First aid for a choking baby - ComplyPlus™ - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

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