Every parent’s worst nightmare is to find their baby or child not breathing, or to have to deal with a child that is choking. Research has shown that in such a situation we could panic because we don’t know what to do. It seems that if we know what to do, we get on with it and usually only panic or experience shock afterwards. A few quick actions could mean the difference between life or the death of a child.
What to do if your baby stops breathing
- Keep calm. If your baby is in harm’s way carry him to a safe place and put him on a firm surface.
- Check for any response from your baby. Gently try to revive him. If he cries, check for injuries and keep watch over him.
- If no response SHOUT FOR HELP, but don’t leave him.
- Open your baby’s airway by lifting his chin gently with one finger. You only need to tilt his head back a little.
- heck for normal breathing. Place your cheek over his mouth to see if you can feel his breath. Look out for his chest rising. Keep checking for 10 Seconds.
- If there are signs of breathing, hold your baby ensuring that their head is down and mouth is open so that he doesn’t choke if he happens to vomit. If there are no signs of breath give your baby rescue breaths. Do this by sealing your mouth over your baby’s nose and mouth and blow gently for 1 second. Give 5 rescue breaths.
- Give 30 chest compressions followed by 2 rescue breaths. To give chest compressions place 2 fingers in the centre of the chest and press down. For an older child use one hand in the centre of their chest. Give chest compressions quite fast – 2 per second. Remember 30 compressions and 2 rescue breaths.
- Continue with 30 compressions and 2 breaths for 1 minute. If no one is with you to have called for emergency services then go to the phone yourself, taking the baby with you and dial them. Tell them you are performing CPR.
What to do if your baby is choking
- SHOUT FOR HELP
- Turn your baby face down on your lower arm and ensure his head is lower than his chest. Support your baby’s head in your hand.
- Using the heel of your hand give 5 back slaps. Pause slightly between each slap to check if the object has come out.
- If your baby continues to choke, turn your baby face up, head still tilted down, and with 2 fingers in the centre of his chest press down sharply for 5 chest thrusts. Check between chest thrust to see if anything has been dislodged.
- If your baby continues to choke repeat 5 back slaps followed by 5 chest thrusts.
- If your child becomes unconscious start CPR.
The recovery position
If your baby is breathing and not in a life threatening condition place them in the recovery position until an ambulance arrives.
For a baby under a year, cradle the baby in your arms, ensuring that their head is tilted downwards to prevent choking if they vomit.
For anyone older than 1 year turn them on their side and lift their chin slightly to ensure the airway is open. Place their arm closest to the floor out and place their other arm across their body putting the hand under the chin. Place their upper leg on the floor in a bent position. Check that they are unable to roll either onto their back or front.
With these skills you may be able to save a life. Thank you to the Royal Life Saving Society UK who supplied us with a leaflet that you can download with the above instruction.
By Meg Faure