Calls for anti-choking device in schools after tragic death of two-year-old

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Calls for anti-choking device in schools after tragic death of two-year-old

More than 1,200 people have signed a petition calling for 'LifeVac' devices, which can stop choking, to be made widely available.

Sadie Salt
Sadie Salt

More than 1,200 people have signed a petition calling for a medical device which can stop choking to be made widely available in schools in the wake of the tragic death of two-year-old Sadie Salt.

The toddler sadly died after choking on a piece of sausage she was eating at her nursery in Radlett, Hertfordshire in November.

Craig Grant, a father-of-three from Borehamwood, started a call for LifeVac devices to be rolled out more widely in the UK after hearing of Sadie’s death. The petition has been signed and shared by Sadie’s mother, Zoe.

The device, described as an “airway clearance device”, is only allowed to be used in certain settings, which does not include schools and nurseries. The firm claims it has saved the lives of 34 children to date.

But the MHRA, which regulates medical devices, says there is not “sufficient clinical data” for the devices to be used by non-healthcare professionals or by the general public.

A LifeVac device

Mr Grant, whose child attends a sister nursery to the one attended by Sadie, said: “After Sadie passed away I got in touch with the nursery to see if they’d consider buying one of these. They did but we were told later that they had to send it back because they were not approved.”

He added: “Deaths could be avoided, I absolutely believe it. I don’t understand why these devices can’t be used.”

Matt Branagan from LifeVac told Jewish News: “It’s really frustrating. When we heard about Sadie’s death, we were contacted by lots of schools who wanted to put this device in their schools.

“Children’s lives could be saved if this device were available. We’ve saved 34 children’s lives now from three-months to 14-years-old.”

He said the company had tried to work with the MHRA to get the device approved for general use but since 2017 had not been successful.

A spokesperson for the MHRA said the device’s use in limited settings was to enable clinical data to be gathered. 

Craig’s petition has reached more than 1,200 people

“Just as our regulatory approach to airway clearance devices was reached with due consideration to the guidance and opinion of the UK clinical community, any changes to this approach would also be made with those same due considerations,” said a spokeswoman. 

“Hence, the MHRA is in the ongoing process of consulting relevant experts regarding current clinical data and literature supporting the use of these devices, which in turn shall inform what changes, if any, are warranted regarding the current regulatory approach adopted concerning these devices.

A study on mannequins at the University of Warwick published this month found evidence “that individuals using the LifeVac were more successful in removing a simulated foreign body airway obstruction than individuals using abdominal thrusts.”

However, it added: “A key issue with these devices is that their use may distract the rescuer from other techniques, such as back slaps, abdominal thrusts and chest thrusts.”

The company says its device should only be used when all other resources have failed in an emergency.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: