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Norfolk mother’s praise for ‘guardian angel’ whose first aid skills helped save four-week-old baby

Norfolk mother’s praise for ‘guardian angel’ whose first aid skills helped save four-week-old baby | First Aid Training | Scoop.it

A mother-of-three is urging people to have first aid training, after a “guardian angel” neighbour helped save the life of her four-week old baby when he stopped breathing.

Tina Westlake, 34, said her son Kane, now eight weeks old, “wouldn’t be here” were it not for the actions of 24-year-old Emily White who administered emergency first aid she had recently learnt and carried out CPR until paramedics arrived.

Kane stopped breathing after choking on milk after being laid down for a sleep at the family home in Foulsham, prompting a panic-striken Mrs Westlake to run out into the street to scream for help, carrying her son in her arms.

Neighbour Mrs White, who was on her way to pick her daughter Jorgie up from school, heard the screams and ran back to put into practice skills picked up at a course run by First Aid at Work Norfolk, based at Ringland Road in Taverham.

The mother-of-two, who went on the course to help her secure a job as a first-aider for Fakenham-based Med PTS, said the “excellent” training she received meant she was able to calmly deal with the unfolding emergency.

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CPR, First-Aid Training A Life-Saving Must For Parents

CPR, First-Aid Training A Life-Saving Must For Parents | First Aid Training | Scoop.it

We wish it didn't happen but it does.

A baby swallows a penny while playing with a wallet. A toddler slips under the pool's surface unnoticed for too long. A child gets a chunk of food stuck in his throat during dinner time. I've experienced some of these moments with my two young sons. Thankfully, they've come out of the situations unharmed, but I was left utterly shaken.

I learned some lifesaving techniques during lifeguard training when I was a teenager, but that was more than 20 years ago. When an accident happens, do we know what to do? Should all parents refresh our past knowledge and be comfortable with at-home lifesaving techniques?

"Every family should have somebody trained in basic first aid and CPR skills," says Paul Shipman, spokesperson for the American Red Cross in Connecticut, which teaches approximately 120,000 people each year in a variety of safety procedures. The "basic level" class for the "average everyday responder" is offered all around the state each month and results in a certification that is valid for two years. Joe Lodge teaches the 3-1/2 class and says parents shouldn't put it off because we are too busy.

"Bottom line is, yes, you should make the time," he says. "Some of parents' natural instincts are a lot of what we do teach when it comes to choking situations," but it's important for us to know the proper technique of five back blows followed by five abdominal thrusts so that we don't cause further damage.

The class also covers both adult and infant CPR, which begins with a sequence called: "check, call, care."

Often during an emergency, onlookers shy away from getting involved. "One of the top fears that people have for barriers are usually not knowing exactly what to do or making the situation worse," says Lodge, who believes that learning solid steps will offset feelings of panic. Lodge, a teacher for 12 years, leads his students through a repetitive pattern of 30 chest compressions and two subsequent rescue breaths on adult and baby mannequins.

"Just enough to make the chest rise," says Lodge, as he watches his students find a pace that could keep a body alive and prevent brain damage. He also introduces an AED — automated external defibrillator — which can now be found in many public places. While it appears daunting, with sticky pads and plugs, this talking machine literally walks users through commands to restore heart rhythm with electric shock. Free, printable brochures and a new smartphone app, both available at redcross.org, should be reviewed each month so techniques remain familiar.

I participated in an evening session and feel so much more prepared to tackle any unforeseen emergency involving my loved ones.

"A few hours of training can really make a lifesaving difference," says Shipman. We make plans for fires and storms. We protect our homes with alarms and fences. Why not take precautions to keep our kids' bodies safe as well?

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