The 40-second video that's saved 36 babies' lives - and could save yours

(9 ratings)
Child Whooping cough baby crying

If your baby were choking, would you know how to save their life? According to research by St John Ambulance, almost 80% of you said you wouldn't.

Their new advert is already proving to be an invaluable resource to parents by teaching them in simple steps exactly what to do if their baby is choking. The video has already saved the lives of 36 babies, and who knows, it could be about to save yours.

Mum Becca Hensmen told The Huffington Post that thanks to seeing this video a few days earlier, she was able to deliver first aid to her 12-week-old baby when he was choking. She said: 'It became very clear quickly that he was choking on something.

'I'd seen the St John Ambulance advert a few days earlier so I flipped my son over on to my leg, and after the third back slap I gave him he coughed. My dad checked his airway and luckily the obstruction cleared - my son had been sick in his sleep.

'If I hadn't seen that advert, I'm not quite sure how I'd have reacted, but thankfully I had so I knew what to do straight away.'

The 40-second video sees animated everyday toys (things that young children often put in their mouths) demonstrating how to deliver first aid to a choking baby. You can also read our step-by-step guide below and print the page to keep somewhere handy in your house.


The video that's saving lives

Video: YouTube/St John Ambulance

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Choking: What to do if your child can't breathe

  • If your child is choking they might go quiet because they can't breathe or they might cough violently. If they can't get rid of the object by coughing do the following:
  • Look to see if there's an object stuck, but only take it out if you think you can get it without pushing it further down. If not, move on to the next steps:


For kids under 12 months

Step 1

Put the baby over your arm and hit them on the back, making sure you support their head and neck.

Step 2

If this doesn't work, turn the baby onto their back and put their head in your hand. With two fingertips, push inwards and upwards against the breastbone five times.

Do this every three seconds and look in the mouth each time. If you see something, pick it out, if not, carry on.

For kids older than 12 months


Put the child over your knee and give hit them on the back, between the shoulder blades, five times with the palm of your hand.

For children old enough to stand by themselves

Step 1

Stand behind them and place your fist between the belly button and bottom of ribcage.

Step 2

Cup your fist with your other hand and pull sharply in and upwards in a scooping movement. Do up to five times. This is known as the Heimlich manoeuvre.

If this doesn't work, do the five hits on their back followed by the five hits on their front three more times.

Step 3

Call an ambulance if it still hasn't worked and carry on doing it until the ambulance arrives.


More advice from St John Ambulance

Read on: Sprains and strains

Continued below...

Where next?

- Read all our basic first aid articles

- Keep your kids safe at home

- What should you have in your medicine cabinet?

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