“Without a doubt, it was Kate’s choking video and rhyme which gave me the confidence to step in so quickly at school.”

These are the words of Claire Emmett, Early Years teacher at Chichester Free School. Claire took quick action, when one of her reception pupils started choking whilst eating lunch. Claire had recently watched a live Mini First Aid video on her friend Tessa Kelly’s Instagram feed. During the video, our Director, Kate Ball talked about how to recognise when a child is choking and exactly what to do.

Claire describes in her own words what happened and why she thinks every member of teaching and dining staff should watch Kate’s video.

“One of my friend’s had organised for Kate to do a live video on Instagram about choking prevention so I tuned in. Without a doubt, it was this video which gave me the confidence to step in so quickly at school. I’ve done first aid training, but watching Kate’s video helped me quickly recognise that Leo (not his real name) was choking. In fact, I can still remember the rhyme Kate teaches:

‘Loud and red, let them go ahead. Silent and blue they need help from you.’



That day, we had sixty children sitting down for their weekly roast lunch which is no mean feat! Beef was on the menu which children often find a little tricky to cut and chew. As I was walking up and down, I noticed Leo was coughing and liquid was coming out of his mouth. He then went quiet which I knew was a warning sign. I shouted to a colleague to come and help as we needed to get Leo out of the bench where he was sitting. By then, Leo’s lips had started to go blue and I was sure he was choking.

We quickly got Leo out of his bench so we could issue back slaps. It wasn’t easy as he had gone completely rigid. Eventually, the food flew out but Leo was still quiet. To check if he was in shock or still choking, I asked him:

“Leo. What is my name?”

Thankfully, he answered “Miss Emmett” straightaway. Leo loves his roast dinner so asked if he could start eating again. We did get him a new dinner though!


Claire, pictured outside her school


I think anyone working with children should watch Kate’s video. It takes 5 minutes of your time, but you could save a child’s life. Because I remembered the rhyme and knew the difference between gagging and choking, I was confident about stepping in. Dining halls are busy, noisy places so we need to know when a child is choking and act fast. Ultimately, it’s about saving a child’s life.”

We asked Tessa for her thoughts after she heard Claire’s amazing story:



“At the start of lockdown I wanted to run a series of Instagram lives with experts and mums to provide a support network to my community in what has been a very challenging time for us all.  To hear that one of the lives I did with founder Kate enabled a child to be saved from choking demonstrates the importance of supporting new parents and caregivers with such life saving skills, in addition to providing confidence when introducing food to your baby.”

If you’d like to watch the video which Kate did with Tessa, you can do here 


It’s amazing how a little first aid knowledge can go such a long way, isn’t it? If you’ve been affected by Claire’s story and would like to learn life-saving skills, search for a local Mini First Aid class today

The Mini First Aid Team x