Baby Choking, CPR, SIDS

A few days ago, a friend of mine had a terrible experience. While she was driving home her son went very quiet. As she was sitting next to him, on the back seat (he was in his car seat) while her husband was driving, she peered into his little cocoon only to see him staring back at her – unresponsive.

Immediately, they stopped at the side of the road and put him on the ground. Luckily, his daddy knew what he was doing and gave him CPR. Suddenly he took two deep breaths and he was back to normal, unaware of the huge scare he had given his poor parents.

They rushed him to hospital and he was given a clean bill of health. The only thing that the doctors could suggest was that it was the onset of SIDS* (sudden infant death syndrome) – more commonly known as ‘Cot Death’.

Having a 3 month old myself, this was obviously quite unsettling. This article will give you some basic information on CPR for babies but I would highly recommend that you do a basic CPR Course so that you will be more prepared should a situation arise.


  1. Shout and Tap – Shout and gently tap the child on the shoulder. If there is no response, position the infant on his or her back
  2. Open The Airway – Open the airway using a head tilt lifting of chin. Do not tilt the head too far back
  3. Give 2 Gentle Breaths – If the baby is NOT breathing give 2 small gentle breaths. Cover the baby’s mouth and nose with your mouth. Each breath should be 1 second long. You should see the baby’s chest rise with each breath.
  4. Give 30 Compressions – Give 30 gentle chest compressions at the rate of 100 per minute. Use two or three fingers in the centre of the chest just below the nipples. Press down approximately one-third the depth of the chest.
  5. Repeat – Repeat with 2 breath and 30 compressions. After two minutes of repeated cycles call 10111 and continue giving breaths and compressions.

For a more comprehensive, illustrated guide which also covers choking – visit http://www.babycenter.com/0_infant-first-aid-for-choking-and-cpr-an-illustrated-guide_9298.bc

*Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is a syndrome marked by the symptoms of sudden and unexplained death of an apparently healthy infant aged one month to one year. The term cot death is often used in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, while crib death is sometimes used in North America. (Wikipedia)

Risk reduction for SIDS

Below you will find precautions you can take in order to reduce the likelihood of SIDS.

  • Sleep positioning – Sleeping on the back has been recommended by (among others) the American Academy of Pediatrics (starting in 1992) to avoid SIDS.
  • Breastfeeding – A 2003 study published in Pediatrics, which investigated racial disparities in infant mortality in Chicago, found that previously or currently breastfeeding infants in the study had 1/5 the rate of SIDS as non-breastfed infants.
  • Second-hand smoke reduction – According to the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, second-hand smoke is connected to SIDS. Infants who die from SIDS tend to have higher concentrations of nicotine and cotinine (a biological marker for second-hand smoke exposure) in their lungs than those who die from other causes. Infants exposed to second-hand smoke after birth are also at a greater risk of SIDS. Parents who smoke can significantly reduce their children’s risk of SIDS by either quitting or smoking only outside and leaving their house completely smoke-free.
  • Sleeping area – To prevent SIDS, many families use firm mattresses with tight-fitting sheets in cribs or bassinets. The families do not allow pillows, stuffed animals, or fluffy bedding in the cribs. In cold weather, the families dress the infants warmly in well-fitted clothing. Infants’ blankets should also not be placed over their heads. It has been recommended that the infants are only covered up to their chest with their arms exposed. This will help eliminate the chances of the infant moving the blanket over their head.
  • Air circulation with fan use – According to a study of nearly 500 babies published the October 2008 Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, using a fan to circulate air correlates with a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
  • Bumper pads – Bumper pads may be a contributing factor in SIDS deaths and should be removed. Health Canada, the Canadian government’s health department, issued an advisory recommending against the use of bumper pads, stating: “The presence of bumper pads in a crib may also be a contributing factor for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). These products may reduce the flow of oxygen rich air to the infant. in the crib.”

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