Inquest starts for baby who choked on shepherd’s pie at nursery


Nine-month-old Millie Thompson started choking whilst eating lunch at Ramillies Hall School and Nursery in Cheadle Hulme, Stockport in October 2012.

Staff carried out first aid but shortly after paramedics arrived, she went into cardiac arrest and died later.

The inquest is being heard by a jury and coroner John Pollard at Oldham Magistrates’ Court.  They were told it was Millie’s third full day at the nursery, and that she had settled in well.  It was noted that she had no special dietary requirements.

She “suddenly started to choke” on her lunch and an ambulance was called, Mr Pollard said.

The inquest was told the nursery supervisor feeding Millie did not have a valid first aid certificate, but a colleague who had the relevant training performed back slaps on her until paramedics arrived.

Millie’s mother Joanne Thompson told the hearing that she thought her daughter was safe that day.  “How she choked on mash, we will never understand.”

Following the nine-month-old’s death, her parents set up charity Millie’s Trust to promote first aid training in schools.

Mrs Thompson said: “We want to help parents, grandparents, friends – anyone that looks after children but cannot afford to fully fund a course.

“We believe that first aid should be an essential part of your knowledge because one day you might just be in a situation where you need to help someone using first aid.”

The organisation pays for parents to have first aid lessons and offers free classes to new mothers.

The inquest continues.


5 thoughts on “Inquest starts for baby who choked on shepherd’s pie at nursery

  • January 12, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    As I have read on many other website at the time the person caring for Millie Thompson was in fact a senior member of staff. Also, even though the staff members certificate had run out, she’d still done the qualification and therefore should have still known what to do in such a situation. For a senior memeber of staff in a setting that is extremely unacceptable.

  • December 3, 2013 at 9:44 am

    I so agree with Val Wells. So sad for all concerned and I feel strongly for the nursery staff – every childcare workers worst nightmare. There are situations where no amount of training or certificates can help and we all pray they never happen to us. All staff at our nursery have first aid training but this situation nearly happened to me while I was looking after my grandaughter. Thankfully the backslaps worked – eventually, just reading this report brought me out in a cold sweat. How you would ever recover in the worst case I do not know.

  • December 2, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    The requirement are that ‘one person’ with paediatric 1st aid should be on the premises. However, our LA will only pay for 2 persons, per setting, to have this qualification – which means that if one is on lunch and the other is off sick or on leave (for example) they have no 1st Aid cover.
    As a result, we try to ensure that the majority of the staff have a paediatric 1st aid qualification and try to ensure that any new staff become qualified within 6 months of joining us, by paying for it ourselves.

    However – any setting is dependent upon the ‘qualified’ staff being able to remember their training in full, for up to 3 years, without neccessarily encountering a ‘choking’ or other extreme emergency situation during that time.
    CPD days can be used for this purpose.

    Whilst the staff member was ‘back-slapping’, did s/he think about the possibility that a soft food, such as Shepherd’s Pie, would not be dislodged by this action and did s/he try other methods of dislodging the food? And were there other qualified paediatric 1st-aiders available to give their advice?

    I am not trying to condemn what happened as no-one will know the facts until the conclusion of the Inquest, but I feel that it is very important not only to ensure that ther majority of the staff are trained, but that this training is revised during CPD days, and cases such as this are highlighted.
    It could happen to any one of us, at any time, and we need to feel confident that we can handle most situations.

  • December 2, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    I run an Early Years Pre-school and insist that all staff are first aid trained, but that is not the ‘law’ and the nursery concerned did have a first aider so were not doing anything wrong and I have sympathy for the parents and staff involved.

  • December 2, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    What a terrible thing to happen, my heart goes out to all concerned, especially the parents. It does upset me though how there is always an underlying element of blame on the setting. Ofsted does not require all staff to be qualified in first aid, therefore the nursery was compliant with their Ofsted Regulation obligation. The outcome sadly would probably have been the same, I am sure, even if a senior hospital consultant was present.


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