Mum shares 3-year-old’s terrifying choking scare to remind us all to learn first-aid

Mum Leah forgot what to do when her little girl started choking – and now wants us all to keep brushing up our first-aid know how...

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A mum from the US has shared the terrifying moment she realised her daughter was choking – in a bid to remind other mums the importance of first-aid training.

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Leah Porritt, fom Baltimore, had drained her 3-year-old daughter’s bath and asked her little girl to help clear away her bath toys, when she sensed something wasn’t right.

As she stepped out of the room for a brief moment to help her other child put his PJs on, Leah asked how her bath-bound tot was doing.

Her Chatty Cathy toddler didn’t respond with her typical ‘I OK Momma’ – which sent Leah into a tailspin.

“When she suddenly stopped singing and didn’t respond to that question, my heart dropped a little,” she told Pospugar.

“The moments that followed seemed like they were in slow motion and lasted forever — although I’m sure it was only the matter of seconds. I know I got up quickly and peeked around the door into the bathroom.

“My daughter’s back was to me and her arms were extended . . . the second I laid eyes on her I knew something was wrong.”

Her instincts were right, and it was a worst case scenario: Leah’s little one was choking on a small bath toy.

That was the moment she realised her first-aid skills were seriously rusty… having last taken a course 8 years ago, around the birth of her first child.

Panic-stricken, Leah rushed her tot over to her knowledgeable next door neighbour, who runs a children’s nursery, and Leah’s airway was cleared in the nick of time.

But – and it doesn’t bear thinking about – what if Leah’s superstar neighbour hadn’t been home?

She’s now fully brushed up on all the potentially life-saving techniques a parent should know – and is urging others to do the same:

“I think it’s important that parents really become comfortable with CPR and choking relief techniques,” said Leah.

“Don’t just take a class and check it off your list. Review the techniques often, go online, and refresh your memory often. Copy your… pictures/instructions and keep them up on the refrigerator.

“There is something about seeing your child turn white and blue that has the great potential to mess with your reactions.”

Leah’s advice is SO on the money – even if you might think a choking scare will never happen to you. As Leah reminded Popsugar, she didn’t expect it’d happen to her little girl.

“I’m not even sure how [the toy] got lodged in her throat to begin with because it seemed too large to do so,” she added.

“She has never been one to put toys in her mouth and at 3-and-a-half she knows better now.”

How to stop your child from choking

Knowing how to perform first aid is key – we’d definitely suggest taking a refresher first-aid course, just like Leah’s done ?

You can download free guides to study and keep in case of emergency are available from The Red Cross and St John’s Ambulance. We’d recommend getting them both, and giving ours a read, too ?

The Red Cross also shares these first aid guidelines for choking children over the age of 1:

  • A child who is choking may be clutching at their chest or neck and won’t be able to speak, breathe, or cough.
  • Firstly, give up to five back blows – you do this buy hitting them firmly on the back between the shoulder blades. If this doesn’t work, try the next step.
  • Try up to 5 abdominal thrusts, by holding your child around the waist, pulling inwards and upwards above their belly button.
  • Finally, call 999 if the object doesn’t dislodge.

You can watch The video of these moves put into practice can be seen, above.

Finally, if you have a baby under the age of 1, the advice from St John’s Ambulance on how to relieve choking is slightly different – read the guidelines and watch a demo video.

Images: Leah Porritt

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