Ugo with his son Reuben. He used first aid when his son was choking on a 20p coin.Many of us will give our dads little tokens of appreciation to mark Father’s Day. But some of us may have more reason than others to express our thanks – like little Reuben.

After coming home from a family day out, dad Ugo had laid Reuben down to change his nappy – something he’d done hundreds of times before.

But unbeknown to Ugo, Reuben was holding on to a 20 pence coin his uncle had given to him as pocket money earlier on that day.

When Ugo turned his back, Reuben put the coin in his mouth – and started to choke.

“Everything happened so quickly,” Ugo said.

“I looked away for a second to get hold of Reuben’s new nappy, and when I turned back I could see something inside his mouth.”The moment Reuben stopped making noise, Ugo knew something was wrong.

Quick reactions

Ugo’s instinct took over. He picked Reuben up and turned him on his front, before giving him a couple of firm back blows to encourage the coin to dislodge. Fortunately it did.

“I think I’d read about what to do when a baby is choking, and the knowledge must have been lodged inside my brain somewhere,” Ugo said.

Reuben quickly returned to his normal self as if nothing untoward had happened.

“My son was quite unfazed. He just rolled back onto his back and I finished changing his nappy,” Ugo said.

A choking baby can be a very scary experience. But as Ugo shows, with the confidence and the will to act, you can really help.

What to do if a baby is choking
  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 their shoulder blades, up to five times. If back blows do not dislodge the object, move to step two.
  2. Give up to five chest thrusts. Turn the baby over to face upwards and place two fingers in the middle of their chest just below the nipples. Push sharply downwards, up to five times.
  3. Call 999 if the object does not dislodge. Continue with cycles of back blows and chest thrusts, until the object dislodges, help arrives or the baby becomes unresponsive.

Over one years’ old? Click here for how to help a choking child.

Speaking about his experience Ugo said:

“It doesn’t matter how prepared and cautious you are, with children you need to be ready to deal with first aid scenarios at the drop of a hat. I would definitely recommend that parents learn first aid.

“Sometimes you might think that you won’t recall everything you’ve learnt, but actually when it comes to the crunch, the knowledge is there.”

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.

Photo credit: Bob Collier

Blog updated on 8 September 2017