If your baby were choking, would you know what to do? Nearly 80 percent of parents say they don’t, despite the fact that 40 percent have witnessed their own baby choking, according to a survey of 4,000 parents by St John Ambulance, a first aid educational charity in the U.K.
The survey also found that in parents who said they knew the correct first aid technique to help save their choking child, more than 70 percent of them chose the wrong answer when given multiple choices.
So St John Ambulance launched a short, easy-to-watch public service video called The Chokeables, featuring the voices of British actors, including Sir John Hurt, as small items that are easy for little ones to choke on: a small princess doll, a marble, a piece of candy, a peanut, a pen cap, and a broken crayon.
The 40-second video shows the life-saving steps parents need to follow to help a choking baby. The video, launched earlier this year, has racked up 29 million views and has already saved the lives of 36 babies and counting, according to the organization.
St. John Ambulance’s 40-second PSA is saving babies’ lives. (YouTube)
British mom Becca Hensman credits the video with saving her 12-week-old baby’s life. Her baby boy was asleep in Hensman’s arms when he started making a strange sound and turning blue. “It became very clear quickly that he was choking on something,” she tells the Huffington Post U.K. “I’d seen the St John Ambulance advert a few days earlier so I flipped my son over on to my leg, and after the third back slap I gave him he coughed. My dad checked his airway and luckily the obstruction cleared — my son had been sick in his sleep.”
Hensman adds: “If I hadn’t seen that advert, I’m not quite sure how I’d have reacted, but thankfully I had so I knew what to do straight away.”
Sue Killen, chief executive officer of St John Ambulance, says in a release: “We’re thrilled that people have been sharing the ad with their family and friends, and the fact that children have been saved from choking is just incredible. These stories are living proof that life-saving first aid can be quick and easy to learn — and once you know what to do, you have the confidence to take action quickly and potentially save a life.”
To continue raising awareness, the organization recently launched a free downloadable picture e-book, “The Pen That Lost His Lid.” The book follows a pen’s quest to find his missing lid and is designed for kids ages three to seven, but it also contains crucial information for parents on how to save the life of a choking baby.