First aid, a skill every parent needs

September 10, 2017
first aid for babies and children
First aid. It’s one of those critical skills that you hope you never have to use, not enough of us have and as a parent is essential.

It was World first aid day yesterday (9th September) and you may have noticed lots on the news about how we all should brush up our skills as you never know when you might need them.


As a parent it is so important, maybe more so than ever to know how to look after your children should the worst happen.


New research from the British Red Cross has revealed that three out of four parents in the UK would not be able to save their baby from choking.*
I read this over the weekend and couldn’t believe the statistic. Because of that very statistic I wanted to share my story to show how easy it is for something to go wrong and how essential it is that you know what to do.


Our Story


Evie is now 11 months old and is the most enquisitive baby. Everything goes in her mouth from bits on the floor, to stickers and anything that looks like food.
As soon as she could move she was on the hunt!


I have taken two first aid courses, one when I was in a sleep deprived state with my first, now a toddler and a second before I had Evie so I could brush up on skills. I know the dangers of choking and some the most common things babies choke on so as soon as I saw Evie was a ‘put everything in her mouth child’ I got to work. I removed anything remotely small from places she could reach and made sure her sister knew that toys were going away or that she had to play with them up high. Anything dangerous was locked away or put away for when she was older.
This worked well but you can’t stop everything and over the course of a month we were unlucky enough to have two choking incidents.
Both were over dinner, for one of them my husband was there, the other I was alone.


These things happen so quickly, one minute you’re all eating and chatting the next you look over at your baby and just know something isn’t right… They say if they’re coughing their body is doing the job, if they’re silent and in distress, something is wrong.
Both times she fell silent, I thought for a split second ‘she’s fine’, but then I knew she was choking. Call it a mothers intuition, whatever it was, I just got that dreadful feeling in the pit of my stomach and knew I had to act.
What I learnt from the courses I had done kicked in, I didn’t and don’t really remember even thinking about what to do. I jumped up, pulled her out of her high chair and moved to the sofa. I laid Evie on my leg, face down, with her head lower than her bum (gravity helps) and with back blows she coughed up the food. The second time she choked it took longer, I started to panic, thought about calling 999 and then she was sick. I’ve never been so happy to see sick.


Thinking back on both occasions I was fairly calm (as calm as you can be in these kinds of situations), auto-pilot almost took over but afterwards it hit me.
When my husband was there I had a cry and a big cuddle with Evie, but when I was on my own I was shaken. I could hardly speak and I was a complete state. I was very close to dialling 999 and I think the shock of it happening twice and me being the only person there to help really shook me up. I called my sister as my husband didn’t answer and haven’t heard myself like that before, I was scared.


The scariest thing as a parent is for something bad to happen to your children, we do everything we can to protect them and care for them so choking is just one of my worst fears. The shock and feeling is horrendous and something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.


But a worse feeling for me would be not knowing what to do. I did and I’m so glad.


I’m telling this story as I believe first aid is so important and it should be the first thing we learn when we have children. Not just for choking, but for cuts, burns, head injuries and also to help other people.


You never know when you are going to need first aid skills.


first aid for babies and children for world first aid day


If you want to brush up on your skills, have a reminder or look into courses there are loads of places you can look at. I did my courses with Daisy First Aid and NCT but the British Red Cross is a resource and Sure Start Centres can also offer courses.


You can also watch a video on skills here


Sarah xx


This is in not an Ad, just a big thank you to this and all the companies / organisations giving parents the skills and confidence we need when these things happen. 


*Nationally representative online survey of 2008 UK adults, carried out in April 2017 by Critical Research. Source –

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  • Reply The Mummy Bubble September 11, 2017 at 6:20 am

    Such important advice. I have had first aid training before but I think it’s important to have refresher courses whenever you can. I also have a first aid app on my phone with lots of advice for coping with various scenarios. It’s important to be prepared just in case. X

  • Reply Maria | passion fruit, paws and peonies September 11, 2017 at 6:50 am

    It’s vital to learn first aid when you have young children. Very important post, thank you x

  • Reply Nicola September 11, 2017 at 7:08 am

    This is so important! I did first aid after my niece nearly choked. Great post x

  • Reply Briony September 11, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    First Aid is one of the most useful things you will ever learn and you will probably need to use it at some point

  • Reply The Tale of Mummyhood September 11, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    I’m so sorry this has happened to you twice. You’re so right about first aid, it’s so important xx

  • Reply Becky | Bringing up the Berney's September 11, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    Oh my goodness it’s so scary when things like that happen! Good on you for knowing what to do! – it really is important to have at least some basic first aid knowledge for sure! I think it should be compulsory for parents to go on a course for choking when they have a child, imagine how beneficial that would be for everyone!

  • Reply Lucy September 11, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    We were given first aid training when we left the hospital with our first son, after he had been in the neonatal unit for a week. Invaluable lessons! Xx

  • Reply Liberty Henwick September 11, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    Such valuable advice! I did a course years ago when my kids were tiny so I need to do a brush up, thanks for the reminder. xx

  • Reply Mrs Mummy Harris September 11, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    I keep on meaning to get first aid training but just haven’t got round to it! bad me!

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