Scary statistics about small children choking

Small children choking is a scary statistic

Nothing surprises me anymore, and I recently read an article about babies and young children choking.

I was not surprised that 40% of parents had seen a choking baby, because everyone chokes at some point. But what surprised me was that a staggering 80% of parents have no idea what to do if this happens to their child or infant.

This is a frightening statistic when you consider that in the UK, an average of 34 children are treated for choking on their food every day of the week, according to a recent St John Ambulance study.

Yes, small children can choke; my children choked at times, but with a swift back slap, they coughed it up.

Paediatric first aid courses are ideal for parents, grandparents, and anyone who looks after children.

What is alarming is that paediatric first aid training is widely available throughout the UK, and many, like us, provide low-cost or free parent and baby first aid courses that include choking and CPR training.

We run Paediatric First Aid courses and also Emergency Paediatric First Aid courses both of which are ideal first aid courses for babies and small children. We occasionally run ‘Parents and Babies first aid classes’ in conjunction with GP surgeries.

What is really scary is that people rely on the ambulance service to get to their child quickly in an emergency, which may not always happen. At the time of writing, it took an average of 26 minutes for an ambulance to arrive. This is a long time if young children are choking, and it is not the ambulance crew’s fault.

OR, while many parents believe it will never happen to them, statistics show that it is possible.

First aid training is always encouraged among healthcare professionals, and having those skills can make a significant difference in a medical emergency.

Small children choking what can we as parents do?

When it comes to feeding babies and young children, parents must exercise extreme caution. Even a small grape can easily choke a child to death in minutes if no treatment is administered to clear the blockage.

Simple things like cutting the children’s food into small pieces and supervising them at meal times. If they choke on a small piece of food, they should encourage the child to cough; they can usually dislodge it on their own.

A simple backslap is often enough to dislodge it, and it usually works very well.

Not long ago, our MD was in a coffee shop with a friend when a child began to choke on a piece of muffin cake. We noticed that everyone was simply watching this child go blue. An ambulance was called, and our MD let the parents know he was a healthcare professional and asked the mother if she would like some help (consent must be granted before you can touch anyone who is conscious). Permission was granted, and treatment was provided to the child. Here is the blog on what happened that day.

Did you know our NHS has a great guide on what to do when a small child chokes, it doesn’t replace actual first aid training but may be a useful guide.

You cannot do any harm if you give backslaps to a child if they are choking, but giving abdominal thrusts or chest thrusts on a baby or small child can cause serious harm if you have not received any first aid training,  the child or adult should always be checked out by a healthcare professional.

small child choking

All of our first aid training courses cover choking

Choking is covered in all of our first aid courses, with the guidance of a healthcare professional, to ensure that the training is as effective as possible.


Attending a first aid course is not only a life skill, but you will also have the skills and knowledge to help a fellow human being in a medical emergency. This could be a family member or someone on the street.

You can find out more about what we offer by going to our home page.

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