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A MUM is sharing a photo of her little girl in an ambulance with blood on her face after a joke at the dinner table turned serious.

The three-year-old was rushed to hospital after she started choking on her dinner.

Her parents panicked as she coughed up blood and gasped for breathe.

Bizarrely, seconds before the event, the youngster was pretending to choke to get her family’s attention.

Thankfully, the mum knew her child was no longer joking around and jumped into action.

The anonymous mum, who sent her story to the TinyHeartsEducation Instagram page, said: “One very normal Tuesday night eating dinner with the extended family, our 3.5 year old ‘pretended’ to choke to get a reaction. 

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“Then with another mouthful of (very cut up toddler sized tender bites) steak, she started properly choking. 

“My partner and I grabbed her from the high chair and started upward thrusts. Didn’t work. 

“We moved over to the couch, I grabbed my phone to call 000 and in the commotion my phone fell between the couch into the abyss.

“Luckily my brother was there and I yelled to him to call an ambulance. I put her over my knees and continued back blows. 

“I thought we were in the clear until she tried to come up for air and she’d completely turned blue, eyes rolled back into her head and a massive ‘blood bubble’ expelled from her mouth bursting over her face, and mine, and partner's body.”

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In a situation where a child is choking, the first option is to try and slap the dislodged ite out by giving them back blows between the shoulder blades.

If this fails to work, abdominal thrusts should be used.

However, it’s an emergency if the item is still stuck or if the child shows signs of becoming unresponsive. 

The mum said she began to panic but could hear her daughter was gasping “little bits of air”.

She said: “The operator told us to put her in the recovery position and by that time the ambulance was here, within 4mins! 

“A trip to the hospital to make sure there wasn’t an obstruction. 

“A little bit of fluid in her lung and some antibiotics cleared it up. 

“Longest 15 minutes of our lives.”

The mum said she couldn’t get the image of her child, blue in the face and covered in blood, out of her mind.

She said: “I’d never heard of blood expelling while choking but the doctor informed us it might have been from the steak going down, the excessive coughing or back blows.

“Doctors said we saved her life but I can’t take that on board yet.”

The mum thanked Tiny Hearts, which she did a first aid course with prior to the horrifying day, which helped her to “keep her cool for the most part”.

Tiny Hearts, run by first aider Nikki Jurcutz and her sister, Rach, recently reminded parents of the signs of choking.

They said five you should look out for are:

  1. Unable to cough
  2. Completely silent, no air, no crying, no speaking
  3. Making desperate attempts to breathe
  4. Clutching at throat
  5. Skin changing colour

It might be easy to miss your baby choking if they are unable to cough and they are completely silent.

The sisters also gave five tips to prevent choking happening in the first place. These are:

  1. No food in the car
  2. Eat at the table 
  3. Sit with a child whenever they are eating, without distraction
  4. Safe foods only – no whole nuts, hard fruit and veg, marshmallow or popcorn, for example
  5. If a child wants what you are eating, always modify it or distract them with something else

What to do if your child chokes

It’s a parents worst nightmare to imagine a situation in which they have to save their child from choking.

But in that moment, it may be you that will have to step up and perform first aid.

The NHS says if you can see an object lodged in your child’s mouth, take care to remove it because blindly poking at it could make things worse.

If the child is coughing, encourage them to continue as they may be able to bring the object up. Don't leave them.

If the coughing isn’t effective (it is silent or they cannot breathe properly), shout for help immediately.

If the child is still conscious, use back blows. 

First aiders at St John Ambulance give the following advice based on the child’s age.


  1. Slap it out:
  • Lay the baby face down along your thigh and support their head  
  • Give five back blows between their shoulder blades  
  • Turn them over and check their mouth each time  

2. Squeeze it out:

  • Turn the baby over, face upwards, supported along your thigh 
  • Put two fingers in the centre of their chest just below the nipple line; push downwards to give up to five sharp chest thrusts 
  • Check the mouth each time  

3. If the item does not dislodge, call 999 or 112 for emergency help  

  • Take the baby with you to call  
  • Repeat the steps 1 and 2 until help arrives 
  • Start CPR if the baby becomes unresponsive (unconscious)  


1. Cough it out  

  • Encourage the casualty to keep coughing, if they can 

2. Slap it out  

  • Lean them forwards, supporting them with one hand 
  • Give five sharp back blows between the shoulder blades 
  • Check their mouth each time but do not put your fingers in their mouth  

3. Squeeze it out  

  • Stand behind them with your arms around their waist, with one clenched fist between their belly button and the bottom of their chest 
  • Grasp the fist in the other hand and pull sharply inwards and upwards, giving up to five abdominal thrusts 
  • Check their mouth each time  

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4. Call 999 or 112 for emergency help if the object does not dislodge  

  • Repeat steps 2 and 3 until help arrives 
  • Start CPR if the person becomes unresponsive (unconscious) 

5. Always seek medical advice if abdominal thrusts are used 

All kids are at risk of choking – especially those under the age of three.

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