If someone had told Kelly Croudace that a Mini First Aid class was going to save her son’s life, she would have gladly shelled out more than £25.
She said: “The money was well spent. I would have paid more if I’d known what would have happened. You do these things in the hope you’ll never use it.”
And yet it only cost the £25 and two hours on a Saturday to learn the skills she’d need to save her son from choking.
Ms Croudace is a healthcare assistant, so she is trained in basic adult first aid.
But infant and adult bodies are different – and at work, there are doctors and nurses everywhere to deal with emergencies.
Although Ms Croudace learned about child first aid when her daughter was born 13 years ago, she felt she needed a refresher course when her son, Jude Mercer, came along last June.
In October, Ms Croudace registered for a course with Mini First Aid Highlands, led by Kayleigh McDine.
That decision prepared her to respond quickly and correctly to an at-home emergency last month, and one first aid expert said it might well have saved Jude’s life.
How Mini First Aid came to the rescue
“About a month or so ago, I was in the kitchen sorting dinner out and my partner came through with my son, saying ‘Help! He’s choking.’
The mum-of-two could have been forgiven for freezing in the nightmare scenario, knowing her tiny son’s life potentially hung in the balance.
But instead, the first aid skills she had picked up again just a few months before kicked in.
I think because I’d done the course, I didn’t think twice. I just automatically did what Kayleigh had taught me.
“Slapping his back with my hand five times, that didn’t work. So I flipped him over and did the baby Heimlich that she’d taught us.
“That didn’t work, so I flipped him back did the back slaps then turned him around again and did the baby Heimlich.
“After the second try, he was fine and it finally came out of his mouth.
“Within a few minutes he was back to breathing normally and having dinner.”
A few weeks on, Jude is a happy, healthy boy who probably can’t even remember the ordeal that terrified every adult around him.
‘You never know what you might come across’
The culprit was a piece of an Xbox controller that had become hidden away underneath the TV stand.
Jude’s hands were the only ones in the house small enough to reach it.
Ms Croudace said that the speed of the situation showed her how important it was to have the first aid fresh in her mind.
She added: “Having that knowledge does give you the peace of mind knowing that, immediately I can deal with it. If that doesn’t work then we can get help.
“I think everybody needs to know basic first aid, whether it’s teenagers, parents, grandparents. Because you never know what you might come across.”
Preparing parents for the unexpected
Mini First Aid Highlands & Moray trains parents to react to emergencies like Jude’s. Owner and trainer Ms McDine teaches classes for businesses, families and children.
She said that it’s important to quickly identify a choking situation and follow the strategy that Ms Croudace used
For infants up to one year:
- Five back slaps
- Up to five chest thrusts. Check if anything comes out. If nothing has come out, call 999
- Cycles of five back slaps and five chest thrusts
Mini First Aid Founder Kate Ball demonstrates the correct procedure in this video:
Learn how you can be ready for an emergency
Ms McDine is beginning to return to in-person classes. You can register online now for a number of courses in Elgin, Dingwall, Inverness and Tain from now through September.
She said that situations like Jude’s are common and a great source of anxiety for parents. Preparation, she said, means everything.
“Choking is a major concern for parents. In a recent Mini First Aid survey, over 60% told us that choking is their number one fear.
“It’s vital that all parents and carers know how to deal with a baby or child who is choking.”
She was thrilled that her lesson played a part in saving Jude.
“I am so pleased that Kelly was able to put her First Aid skills into action after her baby son choked. She was able to stay confident and calm when faced with a terrifying situation, and acted brilliantly using her skills to save his life.”