Choking in children

The shape and size of the food we eat could increase the chances of choking. Foods such as grapes, mini tomatoes, popcorn, peanuts and the small decorations on the tops of fairy cakes can lead to choking as they are all potential choking hazards particularly for children

Fact 85% of choking deaths are caused by food

Many schools and nurseries ban grapes from packed lunches due to the high potential for choking, but all you have to do is avoid perfect circles by cutting the food lengthways i.e. batons.

However, it is easy to forget that some chocolates and sweets can be a choking hazard for exactly the same reason- they are the perfect shape to be inhaled into the trachea(windpipe)

Did you know that Cadbury Mini Easter Eggs have a warning on the back of the package, which states that chocolate should not be consumed by children under the age of four

It is not just mini eggs, but Maltesers and Smarties have the potential to be a choking hazard in very small children to.

How to respond to a child or infant is choking

First relax and then if you think they are choking ask them “Are you choking?”

If they can breathe, speak or cough then they might be able to clear their own throat. If not then they need your help straight away

Back Blows

In an infant

  • First of all support the infant in a head-downwards, prone position, to enable gravity to assist removal of the foreign body; then
  • Sit or kneel as you should be able to support the infant safely across your lap
  • Now support the infant’s head by placing the thumb of one hand at the angle of the lower jaw, and one or two fingers from the same hand at the same point on the other side of the jaw
  • And deliver up to 5 sharp back blows with the heel of one hand in the middle of the back between the shoulder blades
  • The aim is to relieve the obstruction with each blow rather than give all 5

In a child over 1 year

  • Back blows are more effective if the child is positioned head down
  • A small child may be placed across your lap as with an infant, but if this is not possible, support the child in a forward, learning position and deliver the back blows from behind

If a back blow fails to dislodge the object and the child is still conscious, use chest thrusts for infants or abdominal thrust for children.

Chest Thrusts

In a child over 1 year

  • Stand or kneel behind the child and place your arms under the child’s arms and encircle their torso.
  • Now clench your fist and place it just above your child’s navel but below the tip of the breastbone
  • Place your other hand over the outside of the fist then bend your arms and elbows outward to avoid squeezing the ribcage and perform up to five quick inward and upward thrusts
  • Repeat up to 4 more times
  • The aim is to relieve the obstruction with each thrust rater than to give all 5

If the object has not been expelled and the victim is still conscious, continue with the sequence of back blows and chest (for infant) or abdominal (for children) thrusts

Call out or send for help but if none is immediately available then UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES LEAVE THE CHILD!

If the object has been expelled, assess the child as it is possible that part of the object is still in the airway and can cause complications, but if there is any doubt then seek medical attention.

IF the infant or child becomes unconscious begin CPR and call 999

About Us

Rutland First Aid Training provides a full suite of first aid training all tailored to your needs. We strongly recommend that everyone should have some basic first aid skills, so why not attend one of our paediatric courses, for example our one day Care for Children course

Rutland First Aid Training provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. Rutland First Aid Training is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.

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Bespoke First Aid Course for Coral Conservation Expedition

Just what is a Bespoke First Aid Course?

This course can be pretty much anything you want it to be. Today we tailored a Bespoke training course for an individual who had previously completed a few first aid courses. Their requirement were to ‘top up’ and recap over their existing knowledge as they are about to go off on expedition where they will be working at sea undertaking coral research in a very remote location. The goal was to ensure that they were equipped to be able to respond to some of the first aid incidents that had been identified as possible.

Working at remote locations from a few small boats where the main “mothership” boat could be moored anything from 5 to 45 mins away raises additional challenges. This means that being able to respond effectively and preserve life to the point where you are able to transfer your patient to the mothership where there is a full operating room and a medical doctor on board could well be life critical. Combine this with the fact that the nearest hospital or decompression chamber are days away not just hours and you realise the importance of getting things right.

The Brief for this Bespoke First Aid Course

The brief was to recap on all things Primary First Aid, so

  • Scene Safety Assessment
  • Universal Precautions
  • Primary Assessment
  • Airway Management
  • Rescue Breathing
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
  • Conscious and Unconscious Obstructed Airway Management
  • Serious Bleeding Management
  • Shock Management
  • Automated External Defibrillation (AED)

Then secondary care was to cover:

  • Urchin Stings
  • Trauma – large marine bites and loss of limbs
  • Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion
  • Dehydration
  • Coral Stings
  • Diabetes

And finally how to deploy Oxygen and treatment for divers, but for all skill to be adapted to be able to be delivered in the confined space of a small boat and with the skills to transfer the patient to the bigger boat.


We had a great day with lots of practise and what if scenario’s and our instructors applying their extensive knowledge and adapting skills to fit, which leaves us to wish Bry and his expedition team a great and safe trip

Whatever your requirements our highly skilled in-house team are always happy to help and advise, just get in touch to discuss

Watch our friends at Dive Rutland social media and blogs as you might be seeing some amazing pictures coming out of this expedition!

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Recovery Position

When do you put someone into the Recovery Position?

If no serious bleeding, shock or spinal injury is found or suspected, you place your unconscious, breathing patient in the recovery position.

You place an unconscious, breathing patient in the recovery position to decrease the risk of airway obstruction by the tongue or aspiration of body fluids.

How do you put someone into the Recovery Position?

Step 1

Kneel at the patients’ side and place the arm nearest to you out at a right angle to the patients’ body with the elbow bent and the palm upward

Step 2

Bring the casualties far arm across the chest and hold the back of the hand against the patient’s cheek nearest to you – keep hand in place

Step 3

With your other hand, grasp the far leg underneath the knee and raise so it is bent the ankle should be in line or higher than the other legs knee, keeping the foot on the ground

Step 4

Place your hand on the outer edge of the casualty knee, keeping your other hand holding the casualties hand to their face and press down on the knee towards you.

Press, do not pull as you are using the leg as a pivot

Step 5

Continue pressing on the knee

Until the casualty knee is on the floor, with the leg at a very firm right angle against your outer leg.

Step 6

You can now start to move back from the casualty keeping hold of the head. As the casualty gentle moves forward of their own accord, gently let the head lower.

The casualty arm will rest on the lower arm

Step 7

If need be, gently pull back on the patient’s head to assure an open airway

And if the mouth is not open – open

Step 7

Stay with your casualty and continually monitor their breathing, until an ambulance arrives.

Additional Points

If the patient has to be kept in the recovery position for more than 30 minutes, the recommendation is to turn the patient to the opposite side to relieve the pressure on the lower arm and casualties side.

It is strongly advised that you attend one of our courses to understand what to do in a medical emergency. 

Rutland First Aid Training provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. Rutland First Aid Training is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.

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Treating a Choking Pregnant Person

You still treat a pregnant choking person of course you do, but we just make a small change to the hand position we teach you on our first aid courses

  1. First of all ask them if they are choking with the question “Are you choking”. If YES …..
  2. Then give Back Blows. Give up to 5 blows between the shoulder blades with the heel of your hand. 
  3. If the pregnant lady is still choking, give 5 chest thrusts (instead of abdominal thrusts which is what you’d do to a non pregnant adult) . Chest thrusts for a conscious adult are like abdominal thrusts, except for the placement of your hands. For chest thrusts, place your fist against the center of the person’s breastbone. Then grab your fist with your other hand and give quick thrusts into the chest
Chest Thrusts on Pregnant Person

Are pregnant Women more likely to choke?

Well as the pregnancy develops, things get moved around in the abdominal cavity. The baby’s taking up all this room, so it’s pushing downward on the bladder, it’s pushing upward on the stomach and on the lungs. It is pushing up on the diaphragm, so the pregnant person can not take as big a breath as before the pregnancy.  Because it’s compressing the stomach she can’t eat as much, and she eats more often, so pregnant females are more likely to choke.

If they are still choking repeat step 2 and 3 until the object becomes dislodged and they can breath normally. If they are still choking and lose consciousness call for emergency services (999) and start CPR. 

The pregnant person should be checked out by their doctor or a call to 111 if ANY back slaps or chest thrusts have been undertaken. 

To learn more about choking and other First Aid, book onto one of our First Aid training courses, we have the tools to allow you to practise choking safely in the classroom

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What is Sepsis?

Sepsis (also known as blood poisoning) is the immune system’s overreaction to an infection or injury. Normally our immune system fights infection – but sometimes, for reasons we don’t yet understand, it attacks our body’s own organs and tissues. If not treated immediately, sepsis can result in organ failure and death. 

It can happen as a response to any injury or infection, anywhere in the body. It can result from:

  • A Chest infection causing pneumonia
  • A urine infection in the bladder
  • A problem in the abdomen, such as a burst ulcer or a hole in the bowel
  • An infected cut or bite
  • A wound or trauma or surgery
  • A leg ulcer or cellulitis

Sepsis can be caused by a large number of different germs. Yet with early diagnosis, it can be treated with antibiotics.


England, according to the report in the 2018 Lancet Journal of Respiratory Medicine by Prof Sir Brian Jarman had a mortality rate of 20.3%. With around 245,000 patients developing sepsis annually across the UK, extrapolating this figure would give 49,735 lives lost each year

To put this into perspective Sepsis kills more than breast, bowel and prostate cancer combined

Bowel: 16,300 / Breast: 11,400 / Prostate: 11,700

Total = 39.400

What are the Symptoms?

Sepsis can initially look like flu, gastroenteritis or a chest infection. There is no one sign, and symptoms present differently between adults and children.

There are three stages of sepsis: sepsis, severe sepsis and septic shock.

Although sepsis is potentially life-treating, the illness ranges from mild to severe. There is a higher rate of recovery in mild cases, being able to recognise the signs and symptoms increases the patients chance of a better recovery.

Better Awareness can save lives

With better awareness lives could be saved

Symptoms in Adults

Symptoms in Baby’s and or Young Children

Maternal and Postpartum sepsis

Pregnant women and women who have recently given birth are at risk of developing maternal or postpartum sepsis. This can be caused by complications during pregnancy or birth, invasive procedures and infections (which sometimes can be unrelated to pregnancy such


You must have two of the following symptoms before a doctor can diagnose sepsis.

  • A fever above 38 degrees celsius or a temperature below 36 degrees celsius
  • A heart rate higher than 90 beats per minute
  • Breathing rate higher than 20 breaths per minute
  • Probable or confirmed infection

Severe Sepsis

Severe sepsis occurs when there is organ failure. You must have one or more of the following signs to be diagnosed with severe sepsis.

  • Patches of discoloured skin
  • Decreased urination
  • Changes in mental ability
  • Low platelet (Blood clotting cells) count
  • Problems breathing
  • Abnormal heart functions
  • Chills due to fall in body temperature
  • Unconsciousness
  • Extreme Weakness

Septic Shock

Symptoms of septic shock include symptoms of sever sepsis, plus a very low blood pressure


Don’t wait, especially if you seem to be deteriorating. If someone has one or more of the symptoms, call 999. If you are concerned about an infection call 111 or Contact your GP and just say “I am concerned about sepsis”

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