How To Save Your Child From Choking

During what is undoubtedly a parent's worst nightmare come to life, it pays to know what to do.

A police officer in Florida, US is being haled a hero after stepping in when a terrified mother was unable to dislodge a chicken nugget from her baby girl's throat.

Dramatic security camera footage shows the moment Ana Graham pulled her 14-month-old girl from her pram and began striking her on the back in an attempt to move the food, before yelling out for help when she was unable to stop her daughter choking.

Thankfully, two nearby police officers heard her cries and responded immediately.

After taking the child from her now panic-stricken mother, Officer Robert Ayala placed the little girl face-down and began administering hard blows to her back.

Thankfully, after several attempts, the nugget popped out of the toddler's throat.

What To Do If This Happens To You

While Ana Graham was lucky enough to have a trained professional on hand to help, this is not always the case for most parents who must know how best to handle this terrifying situation on their own.

Injuries are the leading cause of death in Australian children, according to Kids First Aid, with unintentional injuries such as choking accounting for about 88 percent of those deaths.

Co-founder and national training manager of Tiny Hearts First Aid Rachael Waia explained to ten daily the first thing a parent should do in the event of their young child choking is  ensure they are in no further danger from their surroundings, determine whether the airway is partially or completely obstructed, and immediately call 000 for an ambulance.

"Then, start emergency back blows," Waia said, referring to the maneuver performed by the Florida mother and her rescuers.

"So you're going to deliver five back blows. How you do that on an infant under the age of one is by placing them over your lap, supporting their head and neck, and delivering with the palm of your hand in between their shoulder blades five sharp back blows."

Waia said parents need to check the airway in between these blows in case they have successfully dislodged the obstruction.

If this method isn't successful after five blows, parents should turn their child onto their back, and administer 'chest thrusts', which involves using your hand -- or two fingers if the child is under one -- to compress down in between their nipple line.

You should then alternate between chest thrusts and back blows, five at a time, until the obstruction is cleared or the ambulance arrives.

If your child loses consciousness before either of these two things happen, commence CPR.

The procedure of treating someone who has a complete obstruction in their throat is the same in adults, however the pressure applied during back blows and chest thrusts on a small child needs to be much less, and applied after judging their size. Image: St John Ambulance

This method is necessary in the event of a complete obstruction, which Waia explains is when the airway is blocked so no air is going in or out. If the child can cough, parents should instead encourage coughing to remove what is a partial obstruction, as chest blows may potentially make the situation worse.

As for what parents most commonly do wrong, director of education at NSW Ambulance Service Alan Morrison told ten daily panic is at the top of the list.

"Sometimes, people panic and don't stop and think and apply -- it's a very simple way of resolving the problem," Morrison said. "Doing nothing is a problem."

"It's very stressful for a parent to be doing this, but maintain a calm head while the emergency's on and do those simple steps. Don't do nothing."

Morrison also said many Australians have become confused how to react in this situation due to what we see in movies.

He says the Heimlich maneuver, which features in most popular cinema and television, is a method first aid administers in Australia have never authorised.