Picture of Julie Durrant who saved a baby choking in a supermarket“I’m not usually the sort of person to push myself forward in a crisis – I’m the sort who would stand back and wait for somebody else to act,” Julie Durrant admits.

But on the day she saw a baby choke in a supermarket, nobody came to help. So Julie stepped in.

Remembering a British Red Cross post she had recently seen on Facebook, Julie was able to save the baby.

She describes what happened in her own words:

“I was in the checkout queue and a mother was next to me with her baby, who looked about eight months old.

“Suddenly I caught sight of the mother patting her baby on the back. He started catching his breath and making a choking sound.

“She lifted him out of the trolley and started patting him on the back again – but he was still choking.  The fear in her eyes was awful.

“I thought ‘I’ve got to do something.’ And that was just it. I acted on my instinct.

“It was like there was just me and her and the baby there – nobody else.

“I laid the baby face down across the mother’s arm and gave him a hard blow on his back with my hand. A piece of croissant shot out of his mouth.

“The mother was so grateful afterwards but was really upset about it all. The baby was a bit tearful but he calmed down as his mother comforted him – I also kept a hold of his little hand.”


Julie knew how to treat a choking baby because of a Red Cross post she saw on Facebook.

Her niece and nephew are both Red Cross volunteers and regularly share the first aid tips posted every Friday from the Red Cross’ Facebook page.

Julie had seen their shared posts pop-up in her news feed and had learnt a range of first aid skills.

“There had been one about what to do if a baby is choking that I’d read just the week before the incident in the supermarket,” Julie said.

“The information the Red Cross are sharing is invaluable – I’ve proved that. You never know when you’re going to need it.

“I’m so glad I was able to act and give the baby the help he needed.”


  1. Give up to five back blows. Hold the baby face down along your thigh with their head lower than their bottom. Hit them firmly on their back between the shoulder blades up to five times. If back blows do not dislodge the object, move on to step two.
  2. Give up to five chest thrusts. Turn the baby over so they are facing upwards and place two fingers in the middle of their chest just below the nipples. Push sharply downwards, repeating up to five times.
  3. Call 999 if the object does not dislodge.

You can also watch our video on how to treat a choking baby.

See first aid tips to help a choking child over one year old.

World First Aid Day

It’s World First Aid Day on 9 September. Get involved and visit our website to watch our videos and wrap your profile picture to show that you know how to save a life.


Blog updated on 8 September 2017