Lyndsey Ritchie with her son Logan.When Lindsay Ritchie realised her four-year-old son Logan was choking on a grape, her mind went blank. Then, she remembered a video she’d seen on the British Red Cross’ Facebook page. And she knew exactly what she needed to do.

Here she describes what happened in her own words.

“Logan was sitting at the table beside me, eating grapes he’d brought home from nursery.

“We’d just said goodbye to his grandad, who’d picked him up from nursery for me, and Logan was busy telling me about his day.

“Suddenly his face started turning purple. He was flapping his arms, and I couldn’t hear anything from his throat except a gurgling noise. I was looking at him, and looking at what he was eating, and suddenly I realised that he was choking on a grape.

“At first, I panicked and my mind was completely blank. I felt sick.

“Suddenly, though, I remembered a video I’d seen on Facebook about what to do if a child is choking – and it all came back to me. I told myself: ‘Hit his back, between the shoulder blades.’

“I turned Logan around, talking to him and telling him: ‘It’s okay, Mummy’s here’. I knew I shouldn’t stick my finger into his mouth, and I was trying to keep Logan’s hands out of his mouth as well because he kept trying to put his hand down his throat.

“I started hitting him on the back. After three blows, the grape came up out of his mouth and he spat it out onto the floor.

“I always click on the British Red Cross first aid videos on Facebook because I have two accident-prone children! Every time I see the videos I watch them through to keep my first aid knowledge up-to-date.

“It was only a couple of days earlier that the choking video had popped up on my news feed. Afterwards, I realised that the knowledge had stuck with me.

“Logan was fine afterwards. He just had a sore throat for a couple of days.

“I definitely think watching videos is a good way to learn first aid. I make sure I share the Red Cross first aid videos as I have so many friends with wee ones the same age as Logan.  If they see them they’ll know what to do in an emergency too.”

What to do if a child (over the age of one) is choking:

A child who is choking may be clutching at their chest or neck and won’t be able to speak, breathe or cough.

  1. Give up to five back blows. Hit them firmly on their back between the shoulder blades. If back blows do not dislodge the object, move on to step two.
  2. Give up to five abdominal thrusts. Hold the child around the waist and pull inwards and upwards above their belly button.
  3. Call 999, if the object does not dislodge. Continue with cycles of back blows and abdominal thrusts, until the object dislodges, help arrives or the child becomes unresponsive.

Under the age of one? Find out how to help a choking baby.

Watch the video Lindsay saw

Learn and share

Our first aid videos were shared around 300,000 times in 2016 across Facebook and Twitter. And on YouTube, these videos have racked up almost 295,000 hits.

Recognising the power of sharing, we want you to help spread life-saving first aid knowledge like Lindsay.

Make a pledge to learn and share a first aid skill that could help save a life.

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