Choking is a major concern for parents. In a recent Mini First Aid survey, over 60% of parents told us that choking is their number one fear. This is a particular focus around the time you are weaning your baby.

To keep babies safe, foods need to be ‘squishable’ between thumb and forefinger (so no raw apple or carrot) and need to be roughly ‘baby fist’ size or ‘chip’ sized. This is to enable babies to hold food securely and gnaw off what they can manage. Avoiding round or cubed pieces of food such as cubes of cheese and whole grapes is important too. A lot of people don’t realise that with babies, bigger pieces of food are so much safer and easier to manage than little chunks.


Dealing with choking.

It’s vital that all parents and carers know how to deal with a baby or child who is choking.


Choking child (aged 1 – puberty)

·      Encourage child to cough.

·      5 back slaps between shoulder blades. Check if anything comes out & check mouth.

·      Up to 5 abdominal thrusts. Clenched fist between tummy and breastbone, with other hand over the top. In & upwards motion. Check if anything comes out. If nothing has come out, call 999.

·      Cycles of 5 back slaps & 5 abdominal thrusts.


Choking Baby (aged 0-1)

·      5 back slaps.

·      Up to 5 chest thrusts (jabbing motion). Check if anything comes out. If nothing has come out, call 999.

·      Cycles of 5 back slaps & 5 chest thrusts.

You must always refer to hospital any child or baby who has been choking and where abdominal manoeuvres have been used.

Come and learn these vital techniques at a Mini First Aid class near you.


In addition to teaching parents and carers about what to do should their child choke, Mini First Aid is now going one step further with their ‘Sit, Chop, Chew’ campaign.

‘Sit, Chop, Chew’ promotes the basic principles of SAFE EATING to families (both adults and children) to reduce the fear of choking and the number of choking incidents themselves. The campaign is supported by Dr. Jamie Cooper, Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital who is working to raise awareness about the risks of choking for young children.

Babies and children (and adults too) should all sit on their bottoms to eat. Moving around when eating puts little ones at higher risk of choking as it is harder to observe them when they are eating. Babies and children should never eat without adult supervision.

Food should be chopped (or broken) into safe manageable pieces as detailed above. 

And chew– babies and children learn by watching others, so make sure you demonstrate that you are chewing your food (sometimes adults have a habit of not chewing and just shovelling!) Even without teeth, babies can mash chew soft food with their gums.

Click here to buy the award winning new children’s book “Sit Chop Chew”.