Brackley man advocates ‘de-choking’ device for all nurseries and schools as alternative to back slaps

The de-choking device
The de-choking device

A private nursery director in Brackley is to issue a ‘de-choking product’ to other nurseries and schools in the town.

A health expert did raise some concerns over the use of the product, insisting that anyone administering first aid in a choking situation should not rely solely on the device.

But Matt Oakley from Radstone Nursery said he was impressed after discovering the de-choker while researching first aid courses for his staff.

With the help of his own healthcare product distribution company, he intends to provide other nurseries, pre-schools and primary and secondary schools in Brackley with the device free of charge.

“I felt that the product was so good it deserved to be not only in our nursery, but all the nurseries and schools in Brackley,” said Mr Oakley.

“The difficulty you have with children is that the procedures you can do on them are fewer than with adults because you can’t perform certain manoeuvres on children, like the Heimlich manoeuvre.

“The only option is back slaps to try to dislodge the item, so you don’t really have many options.”

The product resembles a large syringe attached to a gas mask. It is placed over the child’s mouth and the operator then pulls the suction pump, creating a vacuum and extracting the item from the child’s throat in a short time.

The risk of brain damage becomes a possibility after four minutes of choking, and increases the longer a child is debilitated for.

Mr Oakley will run free training sessions on Monday, March 27, open to anyone wishing to see the de-choker in action.

The session will also cover CPR, resuscitation and back slaps.

But Red Cross’ head of first aid Joe Mulligan said one of his concerns is the accessibility of the device a the time of choking.

He said: “First aid is about using whatever resources are available to you. And of course the most important is your knowledge, your skills and your availability, not your dependency on a piece of equipment.

“We will welcome anything that encourages people to step forward and act, but there are some reservations about having a dependency on a piece of equipment when utilising your skills and knowledge because there is no predicting when it’s going to occur.

In his review of the device, in the Daily Mail, he added: “This should only be used if back blows and abdominal thrusts aren’t successful.”