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Dad Saves Toddler Son’s Life Thanks to First Aid Skills

Dad Saves Toddler Son’s Life Thanks to First Aid Skills

Ryman Healthcare construction worker Dennis has saved his toddler son’s life by utilising the skills he recently learnt completing a St John Ambulance First Aid Course.

Dennis’ son had just finished eating dinner when suddenly he started choking. As his toddler was gasping for air, turning blue, Dennis remained calm and his St John first aid training – recently undertaken – kicked into action and he began providing back blows to his son, whilst immediately calling triple-zero.

Thankfully by Dennis using the first aid skills he had learnt; he was able to completely clear the obstruction from his son’s airways by the time the paramedics arrived.

Unfortunately choking in young babies and toddlers is very common, mainly because they’re naturally curious and are always exploring their environment. From as early as two months of age, babies start putting things in their mouths, significantly heightening the risk of choking to occur.

Babies and toddlers have small airways that are easily blocked. In addition, their reflexes are not well developed, and their bodies are not very strong, so they will have difficulties getting themselves out of trouble.

St John Ambulance Victoria Training Team Leader, Katie Van Woerkom says it’s quite difficult to gauge the right amount of pressure and timing for the back blows and chest thrusts if you’ve never done a First Aid course before, particularly when it comes to babies.

“Having first aid training can often be the difference between life and death. Take Dennis as an example, if he didn’t have the first aid skills and knowledge the end result could have been very different for his toddler. We always recommend anyone, particularly those caring for young children, complete a first aid course in case of any emergency”.

Often when someone hasn’t had the adequate first aid training, they attempt to use the Heimlich maneuver (forceful squeezing of the abdomen) often shown in movies when someone is choking. It’s important this method is not used at any time as this can cause serious damage to internal organs.

Choking first aid is covered in various St John First Aid Courses, including; Education and Care First Aid with Asthma and Anaphylaxis, Caring for Kids and Provide First Aid. St John also now offers the option to complete first aid courses virtually, from the comfort of your own home.

By everyone learning and knowing the correct choking First Aid techniques, there will be more people like Dennis at hand to help save a life if an emergency were to ever occur.


Bitesize Drowning and Choking
Bitesize Drowning and Choking
Learn what to do and how to apply first aid in a drowning or choking emergency in this interactive online course.
RRP $14.95


Suitable for both people in workplaces and members of the public who would like a comprehensive first aid course.


This free program teaches primary school students the importance of First Aid and what to do in an event of an emergency.

St John first aid training trainer with baby manikin


Designed for parents and carers. Learn to manage basic first aid situations specific to babies and kids up to 7.