A let­ter to mums and dads every­where

Dear par­ents,

Chat - - CONTENTS -

Thomas was dy­ing and I didn’t know what to do

We’ve all said it...

It’ll never hap­pen to us.

Even the most anx­ious new par­ent doesn’t imag­ine the worst will hap­pen.

But I’m here to tell you it can, and why we should all be more pre­pared...

When my son Thomas was born on 15 April 2015, it was one of the hap­pi­est days of my life.

He was six weeks early, but per­fect. A healthy 6lb 13oz.

Af­ter 11 days in the Neona­tal Unit at War­ring­ton Hos­pi­tal, my part­ner Peter, then 45, and I brought Thomas home.

Our daugh­ter Olivia, then 5, adored the new baby.

I was breast­feed­ing and Thomas took to it like a duck to wa­ter, fly­ing through his check-ups with the health vis­i­tor.

On 9 May 2015, when Thomas was nearly 4 weeks, I’d ar­ranged to go shop­ping with my mum Jenny, then 66, and the kids.

Fas­ten­ing them into their car seats, I looked at Thomas.

He was fast asleep, his chin rest­ing on his chest. Adorable.

My heart felt as if it would burst with love.

We set off, Mum driv­ing, me wedged between the kids in the back.

We’d just got to the end of our road when mother’s in­stinct made me look at Thomas. My heart lurched.

He’s blue!

‘Stop the car!’ I screamed. Fran­tic, I un­buck­led Thomas. He was like a rag doll in my arms.

Call­ing 999, I was hys­ter­i­cal. ‘My baby isn’t breath­ing!’ I screamed, help­less.

Like many par­ents, I’d never had first-aid train­ing.

Now Thomas was dy­ing in front of me, and I didn’t know what to do.

All I could do was put him face down on my knees and hit his back.

Af­ter a few blows, I saw the colour com­ing back to his face. Thank God.

But he was still floppy, and the am­bu­lance was nowhere to be seen.

Then I no­ticed milk on my knee and re­alised...

He’d choked!

I’d fed him just be­fore we’d set off in the car.

Luck­ily, there was a fire sta­tion nearby. So, with Thomas in my arms I ran in, shout­ing for help.

A fire­man took Thomas into the en­gine house where he checked his pulse and breath­ing. Gave him oxy­gen. I watched in hor­ror, Mum and Olivia by my side. When the fire­man handed Thomas back mo­ments later, it was as if noth­ing had hap­pened.

Thomas was breath­ing nor­mally, his cheeks flooded with colour. Paramedics ar­rived, and we were taken to a hos­pi­tal in Wi­gan. Thomas was checked over, but dis­charged soon af­ter. Over­whelmed, the hor­ror of what hap­pened hit me. Back home, I couldn’t stop think­ing about the what-ifs. What if I hadn’t looked round in time, what if we weren’t near a fire sta­tion..?

I need to be more pre­pared, I re­alised.

So I started re­search­ing first-aid cour­ses for new par­ents.

I also wanted to make sure no par­ent went through what I did – or worse, didn’t get help in time.

So I be­came a vol­un­teer, teach­ing first aid. I started cam­paign­ing for fund­ing for free classes for all par­ents.

Af­ter I’d been teach­ing cour­ses for a few months, I be­gan to hear from par­ents who’d saved their kids’ lives when they’d been chok­ing.

It’s so easy for kids to choke – on all sorts. From lol­lipops to small toys, al­most any­thing can be a haz­ard.

So please – make sure you’re pre­pared should the un­think­able hap­pen to you. Sign up for a first-aid course to­day.

Thomas chok­ing as a baby made me learn first aid

Fire­men came to our res­cue

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