Do You Know How To Save A Baby From Choking?

Do you know how to save a baby from choking? It can happen so easily.  Uncut grapes, marshmallows, anything that little fingers can shove into their mouths – the risks are everywhere.

It’s a great time to revisit the campaign run by St John Ambulance (#thechokeables) which aims to raise awareness for parents and carers for children around the risks of choking and how to help a choking child.

Ieuan Hobbis March 2008
Ieuan in March 2008

They believe that everyone should have the skills and confidence to know what to do in an emergency.

Knowing basic first aid can be the difference between life and death – and every week they hear of new people whose lives have been saved because someone nearby knew what to do.

40% of parents asked by St John Ambulance have witnessed their own baby choke and it was found that almost four-fifths (80%!) don’t know what to do in this situation.

Using the voices of celebrities such as David Walliams, David Mitchell, Johnny Vegas and Sir John Hurt, St. John Ambulance made a short video called “The Chokeables” to show us how to help a choking baby.

In The Chokeables, the celebrities take on the characters of animated objects that could potentially choke babies: a small princess toy, a pen lid, a jelly baby and a peanut.

They’ve joined together because they’ve had enough and want to show how easy it is to save a choking baby’s life.

In just 40 seconds you can learn how to give first aid to a choking baby.

In case you missed the video the first time around, here it is.

Please watch it and share this post so that as many people as possible learn what to do.


For more information click HERE to help support St John Ambulance with this important campaign.

You’ll also find other helpful first aid resources for parents on their website including dedicated first aid advice videos, a download and keep first aid poster, the St John Ambulance app, and an essential first aid course.

Visit them at

Carbon Monoxide: The Invisible Monster In Your Home

Whilst November is Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month here in the UK, any time spent indoors (during Lockdown for example!) is an ideal time to draw our attention to the importance of staying safe from this silent, but deadly killer.

As the winter weather sets in and the evenings get darker, we start to make more use of our central heating but also our fires and log-burners. There’s nothing cosier than a real fire, is there, particularly at Christmas but make sure that you know the risks of using one.

carbon monoxide awareness - do you know the risks - wood stacked up around an open fire place

The importance of Carbon Monoxide awareness

From research carried out by nPower in 2017, it was discovered that 43% of us Brits wouldn’t know what to do if there was a leak in our home. Over 33% of our homes weren’t fitted with a carbon monoxide alarm and over 25% of us didn’t realise that CO has no smell.

Even more worrying, only 5% of us could identify the most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning (CO).

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is produced when fuels such as gas, oil, coal and wood don’t fully burn, so incorrectly installed, poorly maintained or poorly ventilated household appliances like boilers, cookers and fires – both gas and solid fuel, can all be causes of CO poisoning.

Between 1995 and 2015, only 35 per cent of deaths from CO poisoning were actually from mains gas appliances or heating. The majority of deaths were from gas emitted from appliances that burn solid fuel, portable gas bottles and, petrol and diesel.

Did you know that something like a log burner could be a potential cause of CO poisoning?

Carbon monoxide is completely invisible, it has no smell and no taste, so the only definitive way to detect a leak is with a CO alarm.

Yet 43% of us admit we wouldn’t know what to do if there was a CO leak in our home and over 25% of us don’t know that CO has no smell.

Why is this a problem?

Because every year in the UK over 200 people are admitted to hospital with suspected CO poisoning and around 50 people die unnecessarily from it.  The number of people affected could well be much higher, simply because so few of us know what the symptoms of CO poisoning are. An awareness of carbon monoxide is crucial.

One in six of us thinks that a metallic taste in your mouth is a symptom (wrong!) and one in ten of us think a fever would be a symptom (also wrong!)

The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are:

  • dizziness
  • headaches
  • nausea & vomiting
  • tiredness & confusion
  • shortness of breath
  • difficulty breathing
  • stomach pain

Now many of these symptoms are similar to the flu so this is why it is vital that medical attention is sought and we do all we can to avoid carbon monoxide leaks in the first place.

This means ensuring we have a fully functioning and correctly installed carbon monoxide alarm.

npower’s research also showed that almost two-thirds of the UK (61.1%) had not had their boilers serviced in the last year. And, one in 14 people who lived in privately rented accommodation (7.3%) who legally should have had a CO alarm fitted by their landlord (because their rented home has an appliance that burns, or is capable of burning solid fuel), did not have one installed.

Carbon Monoxide awareness 2017 infographic


The top three reasons people gave to justify not having a CO alarm were: It’s on my to-do list – I just haven’t done it yet (30.3%), I’ve never had one before (27%) and I don’t think I need one (16.7%).


If you suspect you, or someone you know, is suffering from CO poisoning you should:-

  • STOP using all appliances
  • OPEN doors and windows
  • EVACUATE the property immediately
  • CALL the GAS EMERGENCY number on 0800 111 999 to report the incident
  • DO NOT RETURN to the property and
  • SEEK immediate medical help.

For more information about carbon monoxide and to find out how to protect your family, visit:

Michelin Starred Barbecue Cleaning Tips

Michelin Star Chef Steve Smith at the Bohemia Restaurant in Jersey is on a mission to get us all barbecuing safely and cleanly.  (You can find his tips on barbecuing food safely here). Let’s be honest, the aftermath of a barbecue can leave you with quite a bit to tidy up, and that’s without cleaning the actual barbecue.  This post contains some of Steve’s handy barbecue cleaning tips.

As it was such a beautiful day yesterday, we headed out into the garden (ignoring its rather unkempt appearance), and cranked up our barbecue, whilst the Husband treated us to some lovely chicken kebabs.

Our barbecue is fondly known as “Deep Thought” due to its resemblance to the Hitchhikers’ Guide To The Galaxy Supercomputer when wearing its cover. (Apologies if you’re not a Douglas Adams fan!)

barbecue cleaning tips - Caitlin and Ieuan enjoying a barbecue out in the garden

I’m sure everyone has much the same conversation after using their barbecue.  “Shall we clean it now?”, “um, no let’s wait for it to cool down”…… and then many many hours may pass.

This means, of course, that the next time you want to use it, you have to spend 45 minutes cleaning the darn thing first.

barbecue cleaning tips - the Husband's barbecued chicken kebabs

I don’t need to remind you that it is important to clean your BBQ regularly to prevent food poisoning and to prolong the life of the BBQ, do I?

As promised, here are Steve’s barbecue cleaning tips

Preheat the Grill

Clean the grill just after preheating it, this way the grease and food will scrape off easily.

Grab an Onion

To remove all of the grit, place a half cut onion on the end of a fork and rub onto a hot grill.

Prevent Rusting

Clean your grill with soapy water after cooking, then rinse and dry immediately and rub vegetable oil across the grill to prevent rust.

Don’t throw water

If you are using a charcoal grill, then do not throw cold water over the coals after cooking as this will create a mess!

Crack open a Beer

Pour half a bottle of beer over a heated BBQ then rub with newspaper for a clean grill. Then you enjoy the rest of the beer for yourself!  (I’m assuming wearing protective gloves -for the cleaning, not the beer drinking!)

barbecue cleaning tips - chef Steve Smith

Michelin starred chef Steve Smith

Create a Paste

Mix baking soda and water to make a paste then cover the grill in it with a wire brush. Let it dry for 15 minutes then wipe the grill with a dry cloth and place it over the hot coals for 15 minutes to burn off any remains before cooking the food.

And, as ever, keep children and pets well away.

Have you any barbecue cleaning tips you can share?

Bohemia Bar & Restaurant is the only restaurant in the Channel Islands to be listed in The Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurants. Visit for more information.


Kids – Design A Health & Safety Poster & Win With The Accident Advice Helpline

In my days at ‘The Law Firm’, you would have expected the emphasis to be on ensuring all health and safety procedures were followed to the letter.

This was not always the case, although the basics were always adhered to.  We had fire alarm drills, kept the fire exits clear and knew where our fire assembly points were.

Caitlin working on her health and safety poster for Accident Advice Helpline -

But using the office microwave and kettle or risking the lift was another matter.  Whilst we had ‘ergonomically designed’ office chairs (for our backs), wrist rests and foot supports for those of us who spent our days at a keyboard, we could easily put ourselves in traction by lifting heavy boxes of legal files.

In the marketing department, lugging exhibition stands, a projector, laptop and boxes of brochures was a regular occurrence. As was setting up rooms for presentations which meant moving tables and chairs, often unaided.

The Health & Safety Executive’s report “Costs to Britain of workplace fatalities and self-reported injuries and ill health, 2013/14” states:-

“Latest estimates show that annually over 600,000 workers are injured in workplace accidents and a further
500,000 workers suffer a new case of ill health which they believe is caused or made worse by their work.”

The cost of this was estimated to be £14.3 billion. Of this vast figure, £8.2 billion was borne by the individuals – workers like you and I.  And bear in mind that these are just the self-reported accidents.

Poor health and safety procedures affect all of us as individuals, employees, employers and tax payers and, frustratingly, most of the time work-based accidents can be avoided.

To raise awareness of this issue, the Accident Advice Helpline has put together a competition that aims to raise awareness of Health and Safety through the work of children.

They are asking children under the age of 16 to design a poster illustrating any aspect relating to health and safety, and in particular showing how accidents can be avoided.

Caitlin adores drawing and, like her mother, is more risk averse than Ieuan who goes everywhere head-first these days brandishing one of his extensive collection of light sabres.

I have explained to him that there is only so much “The Force” can do to prevent accidents but to little avail.

So Caitlin was happy to design a poster and chose to highlight accidents that might happen at school.

Caitlin designing her poster for the Accident Advice Helpline competition -
Caitlin working on her poster

I think she came up with a good list, don’t you?  I must confess I can still hear my old headmistress bellowing “no running in the corridors” at me!

Caitlin's finished poster - Accident Advice Helpline -
The finished poster

Why not get your kids to enter?

The winner will be awarded a £100 Amazon Voucher and one runner up will receive a £25 Amazon voucher.

Enter your poster by posting it on Twitter using the hashtag #aahhealthandsafety or by emailing your poster to  Note that the entry must be tweeted or emailed by a parent or guardian over the age of 18 and you must live in the UK.

All posters must be received by midnight on May 21st 2016 to be in with a chance of winning.

Click here for more information about the competition including the terms and conditions.

Good luck and stay safe!

7 Signs You Need To Replace Your Electric Blanket

Now that it’s getting colder, many of us are getting out heavier weight duvets, throws and electric blankets to keep warm. But electric blanket safety is an issue.  Did you know that more than 5,000 house fires each year are caused by faulty electric blankets?

electric blanket safety - unmade double bed

In most instances, the electric blanket was already showing signs of needing to be replaced – but would you know what these signs are?

Electric blanket safety – 7 signs your blanket may no longer be safe

Bedding specialists Sleepy People have put together an infographic which highlights 7 signs which quickly and easily show that a blanket shouldn’t be used.  It really isn’t worth taking a risk when you can get a new electric blanket relatively cheaply these days.

It’s definitely better to be safe (and warm) than sorry.

Here’s what you need to look out for when considering electric blanket safety.

  1. Is the fabric of the blanket frayed or worn at all?
  2. Does there seem to be any discolouration or scorch marks visible on the fabric?
  3. Are there any wires visible or poking out through the fabric?
  4. Is there any damage to the cable that runs between the power socket and the control to the blanket?
  5. Does the control make a buzzing sound when the blanket is turned on?
  6. Are there any creases or folds in the fabric?
  7. Is the blanket over 10 years old?

electric blanket safety - infographic from Sleepypeople

If your blanket shows any of these 7 signs, it is definitely time to replace it. Electric blankets should not be disposed of with general domestic waste but taken to a recycling facility which accepts electric and electronic appliances.  Check with your Local Authority to find your nearest recycling centre.

If you have elderly parents, it might be worth giving their electric blankets a quick check.  If yours are anything like mine, they will keep everything for as long as possible – even if things are less than safe.

If you are worried, an extra blanket and a hot water bottle with a protective cover might be a safer option.


Review: The Easy Lock Portable Door Lock

Now that summer is on its way, I am sure many people are planning their holidays in far sunnier climes than windy, rainy UK. For young people abroad, in particular, security is a worry for anxious parents left at home, so I was interested to come across a revolutionary new invention, The EasyLock portable door lock.

The Easy Lock portable door lock
A portable security lock is a great addition to your holiday essentials

Introducing The EasyLock Portable Door Lock

The Easy Lock Temporary Door Lock
The portable, temporary security lock, The EasyLock
Contents of Easy Lock Box
The Pink EasyLock with latch plate, stainless steel latch and travel pouch

This lock, the lightest of its kind in the world, will completely secure the majority of inward opening doors (as long as it is an inward opening door with a minimum 2 mm visible gap between the door and frame), anywhere on the globe.

The lock provides extra security especially for women travellers whether in their travel accommodation, away with the family on holiday, or wanting further security in their home.

It is priced at a reasonable £24.95 and has already found favour with celebrities such as Fearne Cotton, Mel B, Abbey Clancey and Davina McCall.

[amazon_link asins=’B0112OL6G4,B004U9MN9I,B07QCM8TXG,B07NVJLFCM,B01M7RHXM2,B016WZ15YG,B07G2F1WK3,B07GQWGPFW’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’mothedistr-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’99f6f45f-dc7e-40d7-9274-59bb993c5081′]

The lock is as light as plastic, as strong as stainless steel, and can be fitted in seconds.

It is small enough to fit in a pocket, and also the only lock of its kind in the world to allow individuals to open the door slightly, to check a caller’s identity, or to take a letter, whilst maintaining total security.

The EasyLock has a fascinating story behind it.

It was created by a 66-year-old entrepreneur, Bob Fitzjohn who says:  “I wanted to create a solution that would keep travellers 100% safe & sound, no matter where they stayed.

My thinking in creating the lock developed into wanting to provide complete security to all others that may find themselves in a vulnerable position”

So, how did I get on?

The lock is really easy to use.

You just open the door and place the stainless steel latch into the lockplate in the door frame.

Close the door fully.

Easy Lock lockplate in door
Place the lockplate in the door frame
Press latch into the lockplate
Place the stainless steel latch into the lockplate in the door frame and press down until firm

Press down the lock until firm and check that the door is secured.

Opening the door wide enough to receive documents
The door can be opened just wide enough to view ID or receive documents

To receive documents or ID, put slight pressure on the latch plate, pressing towards the door.

Lift the lock and slide back until the door is open, all the while keeping pressure against the door.

To remove the lock, put slight pressure on the latch plate towards the door, lift the lock, slide back to the end of the latch and open the door whilst taking the lock off.

Full instructions are available on the website at

I would suggest a few practices before you travel with the lock so that you are confident with using it.

I can see that the EasyLock would be extremely useful, not only for travelling but for added security in student accommodation and even for the elderly (assuming that they have not already taken the precaution of having a door chain fitted).

The lock I was sent for the purposes of this review is a glorious pink with a matching pink pouch but there is a silver alternative with a blue pouch.

The EasyLock portable door lock is so easy to carry, I will be taking mine to further road test in my hotel the next time I travel.

21 Tips For Staying Safe On A Night Out

My daughter is only 7 years old, but already she can make that sound – “harrumph” – which implies she hasn’t the faintest intention of listening to me; a situation that I fully envisage will continue when she hits her teens.

Since, journalists often lurk around the many pubs in St. Mary Street in Cardiff (or any other busy city centre) at weekends hoping to catch party goers in less than dignified positions to publish next day (i.e. spark out on the floor, face down in the gutter, etc), I found myself wondering what advice I’d give Caitlin in the years to come on how to stay safe on a night out.

Source:  Cumbria Police

I suspect that very few of us have personal safety at the top of our agenda for a good night out. Most of us are more concerned about whether our dress looks good and we can actually walk in those heels. But safety IS an issue, particularly at this time of year.

According to the Home Office statistics published back in 2013, more than 400,000 women are sexually assaulted and over 85,000 women are raped in England and Wales each year.

So, below are some tips it would do all of us, male and female, well to read and inwardly digest before stepping into that taxi.

Before You Go

  • Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged.
  • Carry a personal alarm with you – men as well as women – as statistics show that men actually stand a higher chance of being attacked in the street.
  • Keep some money separate from your purse or wallet.  A friend of mine shoves a £20 note down her bra!
  • If you’re using public transport, find out the times of the buses / trains so you’re not waiting about too long at the bus stop / station and know what time you have to leave so as not to miss the last one home altogether.
  • Make sure you have the taxi firm’s number in your phone.
  • Let someone know where you are going and roughly what time you plan to be home.
  • Don’t get too tipsy before you leave.  It’s tempting to have a few glasses before you go to get you in the party mood (and to avoid the hefty prices some clubs charge for drinks), but you’re likely to end up drunker than you might otherwise have been much quicker.

And, on the subject of drinking …


  • Don’t drink on an empty stomach – the levels of alcohol in your blood will rise quicker, which means you’ll be drunk quicker.  Try to at least have a high protein snack – some cubes of cheese and some crackers, or even a bowl of cereal will be better than nothing.
  • Try to control your drinking – set yourself an upper limit and stick to it.
  • Avoid drinking in rounds – it puts you under pressure to both drink and spend more. The Government advises 3-4 units of alcohol a day for men (equivalent to a pint and a half of 4% beer) and 2-3 units a day for women (equivalent to a 175ml glass of wine). And there’s always someone who manages to avoid paying for a round, isn’t there?!
  • Watch your, and your friends’ drinks – take turns to watch each other’s drinks when you go to the toilet or outside for a cigarette.  One of my girlfriends drinks bottled beers and advises keeping your thumb in the top of the bottle when you’re not drinking.

At The Club / Party Venue

  • Stick with people you know – and try to go home with them.
  • Don’t get drawn into problem situations or arguments  – just walk away.  
  • If you still don’t feel safe then call the police.

Getting Home Safely

  • Book a taxi before you go out – and make sure the taxi firm’s number is on your phone. I’d have the number of two or three firms to be on the safe side. And if possible get them to identify both the model and registration number of the car which will be collecting you. The taxi firm I prefer to use here in Cardiff, Premier Cabs, will send a text to your phone with this information when your taxi arrives.
  • Make sure you have enough money for your journey – and use a reputable firm who won’t take the mickey by grossly inflating the fare.  Another of my girlfriends was recently asked to pay £75 to go from the centre of Cardiff to an address on the outskirts – a journey which should have cost £15 – £20.  She had not been drinking on that particular evening and was able to tell the driver where to go! But it is obvious that there are unscrupulous drivers out there who see tipsy revellers as fair game for a financial fleecing.
  • DO NOT TAKE AN UNLICENSED MINICAB! Only licensed taxis are allowed to pull up at the kerb.  You have no idea who you might be getting into a car with.
  • Use your gut feeling – if the driver starts to ask you inappropriate questions or if it’s clear you are being driven the long way round or along a route you do not recognise, ask to be dropped off at the next available bus stop / shop / anywhere open and full of people.  Better to wait for another taxi than to put yourself at risk.
  • Sit near the driver on a bus and in an occupied carriage on a train.
  • If you HAVE to walk home, try not to do so alone – and use well lit, busy streets and main roads wherever possible.
  • Take a pair of roll-up flat shoes with you – companies such as Rollasole and Tipsy Feet make roll up ballet flats which you can take in your bag so you can walk home comfortably without having to teeter in heels.  It’s much easier to run in flat shoes too.

A lot of this is common sense, but it is human nature to assume that “it will never happen to me”. Avoid using the body language of a “victim” too.  Stand tall, walk swiftly and with purpose. Look like you know where you are going. It is illegal to carry weapons of course but I like to carry my house keys in my hand. There are also numerous apps now which allow you to use your mobile as a torch but, since mobile phone theft is so prevalent it would be better to keep your phone to hand but concealed.  Do NOT stop in the middle of an empty street to take a mobile phone call or answer a text.

With these tips in mind, you can enjoy your night out without compromising your safety.  Then all you’ll have to worry about will be the photos of you dancing on tables appearing on Facebook the next morning.