Courses will give vital knowledge in first aid to help keep babies safe

This Is Wiltshire: Matt and Anna Johnston with six-month-old Ben Matt and Anna Johnston with six-month-old Ben

A new course in emergency first aid for babies and children is equipping parents in Chippenham with life-saving skills.

New parents Matt and Anna Johnston of Calne set up the course at the end of January and have already taught 40 people the basics of how to deal with emergencies.

The stand-alone two-hour sessions, held at Scoffs Cafe on New Road, cover CPR, choking, wounds, fractures, burns and poisoning.

The idea was inspired by Millie Thompson, a nine-month-old who died last October after choking at a nursery in Cheshire. Last month her parents set up Millie’s Trust, a charity that pays for parents to have first aid lessons.

Anna Johnston, 34, had her first child in July. She said: “Being new parents ourselves, we’ve been meeting a lot of other parents at the antenatal classes who’ve said they wouldn’t know what to do if the worst happened.

“Some of the things we teach may be surprising – for example one of the worst things to do if a baby is choking is to stick your fingers down their throat.”

The correct procedure for babies under 12 months, according to the NHS, is to give five firm slaps between the shoulder blades with the heel of your hand, while holding the baby face down along your forearm with their supported head lower than their bottom.

Mr Johnston delivers the sessions and has already been teaching first aid for adults for over a year. He is part of a mine rescue team at Corsham and works as a health and safety advisor in a mine near Bath.

A certificate of attendance and a first aid booklet is issued after the practical session, which uses resuscitation dolls. The courses cost £9 and the four run so far have all been full.

There are 10 places on each course, which next run this Sunday, then Sunday, March 17, at 10am and Monday, March 25, at 7pm. To book a place, email anna@rescuecentral.co.uk or call (01249) 401999.

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