30 July 2010
A young mother experienced every parent’s worst nightmare when she found her infant son choking and turning blue – but luckily she had the first aid skills to save his life.
Jane*, a mother from London, only recently completed a Red Cross save a life: child and baby first aid course. She then had to act quickly when a routine day with her young children took a sudden, terrifying turn.
Jane recalled: "I'd just fed my boys their tea and gone to the kitchen to get yoghurts for pudding. When I came back in the lounge, my eight-month-old Matthew* was going blue and obviously couldn't breathe.
“I picked him up so I could see if there was anything in his mouth, but I couldn't. I was shouting ‘Did you see him swallow anything?’ at his poor brother because I didn't know whether it was a toy or food, or something else.”
The situation quickly deteriorated. Jane added: “By this point, Matthew was going really blue and still and glassy-eyed – I really thought I was losing him. I turned him upside down and thumped his back, at the same time grabbing the phone and dialling 999. I kept thumping and thankfully whatever it was must have dislodged as he started moving, coughing and crying, and his colour came back.
“Nothing came out, so I still don't know for sure what it was – but I'm guessing maybe the rice was a bit clumpy and he'd kept some balled up in his cheek or something.
“The paramedics arrived quickly – in just ten minutes, I'd say – but if I hadn't acted immediately that would have been way too late. They checked Matthew over but I already knew by then that he was okay.”
‘I knew what to do’
The whole incident had quite an impact on Jane. She said: “I was in shock for at least a day afterwards – and had flashbacks of his blue, glassy-eyed face for a couple of days after that – but they're subsiding now, thankfully. I've never been so scared or felt so helpless but, in reality, I wasn't helpless. I don't think I’d consciously thought about my first aid course before, but somehow everything had sunk in and I knew exactly what to do. Without being too overdramatic, I probably saved my little boy’s life.
“Everything happened in an instant and was all over so quickly – but the outcome could have been very different. So if you haven't done a first aid course, I'd really recommend it!"
*Names have been changed
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