I’m a first aid guru and here’s 2 simple steps every parent must take to spot life-threatening condition


IF you’re a parent, it’s likely you could scroll through your phone for hours looking at photos and videos you’ve taken of your little one.

While it’s nice to look back at their development, one expert has said that your camera roll could actually be put to good use.

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Sucking in around the ribs is a clear sign that you child might be suffering from respiratory distressCredit: tinyhearts/instagram

Posting to the Tiny Hearts Education Instagram page, first aid guru Nikki Jurcutz said there are two simple steps every parent must take to spot a life threatening condition – and all you need is your phone.

The expert posted a video of children struggling with their breathing to the social media page.

She said all parents must do two things to spot when their little one is in respiratory distress.

The first, is to take a 30 second video of your child breathing on your phone.

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“You’ll then use this video if your child ever gets sick, and you need to identify if their breathing is worsening.”

The second, is to take another video if your child is poorly, and compare this to the first one to see what’s normal for your little one.

Nikki said that these assessments can help you detect if your baby is in respiratory distress.

Some of the key signs of this, she said, include if they are sucking in at their ribs, if their head is bobbing or if they are sucking in at the throat, also known as tracheal tug.

Types of respiratory distress include respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and NRDS.

In some cases, RSV can become life threatening, the American Lung Association states.

Some children under two, especially those born prematurely or with a heart condition, can suffer more serious consequences.

RSV can develop into bronchiolitis, an inflammatory infection of the lower airways which can make it hard to breathe.

Bronchiolitis usually clears up on it’s own after around two weeks, and you can care for your child at home the same way as you would if they had a cold. 

But up to three per cent of babies who develop bronchiolitis during the first year of life will need to be admitted to hospital.

The NHS says: “Around one in three children in the UK will develop bronchiolitis during their first year of life. It most commonly affects babies between three and six months of age.

“By the age of  two, almost all infants will have been infected with RSV and up to half will have had bronchiolitis.”

The early symptoms of bronchiolitis are similar to those of a common cold but can develop over a few days into a high temperature of 37.8C or above (fever), a dry and persistent cough, difficulty feeding, rapid or noisy breathing (wheezing).

The NHS states that newborn respiratory distress syndrome (NRDS) is a serious condition whereby a newborn baby’s lungs cannot provide their body with enough oxygen.

Studies have previously revealed that the condition is the leading cause of death in premature infants, with the risk increasing depending on how premature they were.

The NHS states that it occurs when a baby’s lungs are not fully developed and cannot provide enough oxygen, causing breathing difficulties. It usually affects premature babies.

It’s also known as infant respiratory distress syndrome, hyaline membrane disease or surfactant deficiency lung disease, the experts said.

The key symptoms to look out for are:

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  1. blue-coloured lips, fingers and toes
  2. rapid, shallow breathing
  3. flaring nostrils
  4. a grunting sound when breathing

If you’re not in hospital when you give birth and notice the symptoms of NRDS in your baby, call 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance, the NHS states.





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