accessibility & help

Neale and Susan's story: four-hour first aid course saved baby’s life

First aid woman with resus dummyJonathan Bans / BRC

It only took four hours of their time – but the parent and baby first aid course that Susan and Neale Blomley attended enabled them to save their baby daughter’s life.

As they prepared for the birth of their twins last year, expectant parents Susan and Neale Blomley took part in a Red Cross parent and baby first aid course. It’s just as well they did. Just a few months later they were faced with every parent’s nightmare, when one of their four-week-old twin babies suddenly stopped breathing.

Susan, from Dibden in Southampton, recalled: “Emma and Lucy both had very bad coughs with lots of mucus and running noses. They were trying to start coughing but they’re so young and didn’t have enough cough reflexes. Then Emma stopped breathing – it was as if she was holding her breath.

Life-saving action

“She started to go blue from the forehead down. At first we felt panicky, then the training just kicked in. Neale used his hand to support Emma’s head, then leaned her right forward and slapped her back. She continued trying to cough and suddenly started breathing again. We were so relieved – it was an awful moment.”

The quick-thinking couple called an ambulance and the twins were rushed to hospital where,  Susan recalled: “They were both put on oxygen in incubators and the nurses told us we’d done exactly the right thing.”

Although the couple had previously taken a standard first aid course, they signed up for the parent and baby first aid training because, as Susan explained: “We were concerned that if anything did happen to the babies while we were at home, we weren’t sure of what we needed to do differently from adult first aid.

First aid experience

“The course was easy to pick up and there were plenty of people there so you got time to try all the skills. It was a relaxed atmosphere, which helps for learning, and a good balance of chatting, doing and listening.”

Looking back on the terrifying incident, Susan said: “It felt quite natural to do it. Having been shown how to deal with such a situation at the first aid course – and having had plenty of practice on the plastic dummy – we felt we had the experience to know what to do.”

“Our story is proof that just a few simple first aid skills can make the difference. Having the proper skills – and the confidence to use them – saved our baby’s life.”

Visit our children first aid site

Find out about first aid training

Become a first aid volunteer


Sign up for emails

Enter your email address below to receive the latest Red Cross news