Over 3 years ago, we posted a blog about Rachel and her son Oscar. When Oscar was just 6 months old, Rachel had to give him life-saving CPR, something she and her family will never ever forget. In this week’s blog we revisit Rachel and Oscar’s story, remind you of the basics of CPR and get an update on how the family is doing.
Firstly, over to Rachel to tell us what happened the night she had to give her 6 month old CPR:
“When our second son turned 6 months old we thought we would have been writing the obligatory half-year birthday Facebook post, we never imagined we would be performing CPR to save his life.
After the birth of our first son in 2017, my husband and I decided to book on to a first aid course with Mini First Aid. I have to admit, I have always been somewhat of a sceptic about these types of courses and was gutted to be potentially losing much needed sleeping time but we went nonetheless. The training was great and really insightful, and we “banked” the knowledge with the view that we may need to call on it for the inevitable bumps and bruises we were bound to experience as our son got older!
In September 2018, we had our second son Oscar who was born five weeks early. This has meant he has had to face lots of health challenges over the years.
As he turned 6 months old, Oscar was going through a particularly bad patch with his health and in the middle of the night I woke to him struggling to breathe. I picked him up out of his cot and whilst cradling him in my arms he completely stopped breathing. After trying to reposition Oscar and getting no signs, I shouted to my husband to ring an ambulance. I tried hitting Oscar on the back to dislodge any blockage in case he was choking on anything but again, there were no signs of him breathing. I had no choice but to administer CPR. After 3-4 long minutes he let out a very weak cry and a few minutes later the ambulance arrived and the amazing crew took over.
In those moments my mind took me back to the Mini First Aid course we had attended over 18 months earlier. I remembered the steps we went through when we practised on the dolls. I heard our instructors voice singing “ah ah ah ah staying alive, staying alive”. It’s incredible what information you retain in your mind and how quickly you can recall it. It gave me the confidence to do what I needed to do in a moment when all I wanted to do was cry.”
What do parents need to know about CPR?
One of the most important things about CPR is that it is ALWAYS better to attempt CPR than to do nothing. Many people are frightened of performing CPR and applying that sort of pressure to a baby’s or small child’s chest. But as Rachel discovered with Oscar, sometimes you really have no choice. This is why it's so important to feel confident in performing CPR – it limits the panic and “should I, shouldn’t I?” in an emergency situation, where speedy action is an absolute must.
At Mini First Aid, it’s our mission to teach CPR to as many parents as possible. Whilst we would recommend being taught in person, we’ve compiled these short videos to demonstrate CPR technique for both babies and children:
How is little Oscar doing now?
Following his emergency ambulance dash in 2019, Oscar spent 2 weeks in hospital during which time he had an operation to open up his airway. The family still regularly visit Leicester Royal Infirmary for planned appointments to support Oscar’s health, and Rachel is determined to do whatever she can to help the hard-working staff. She says:
“This year I turned 40 and Oscar turned 4, and it felt very fitting to do something to say "thank you" for all the amazing care we received from Leicester Children's Hospital. So I have created 4 BIG CHALLENGES FOR THE BIG 4-0. These challenges will see me taking on things that I feel are as near to impossible for me, I'm no fitness buff or adrenaline junkie, that's for sure!”
Rachel has received loads of support with her epic challenges, including Mini First Aid’s Emily Ilston and Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington, who gave Rachel lots of tips for her 10km swim!
You can find out more about Rachel’s challenges and her and Oscar’s story here.
Rachel is keen that other parents know she doesn’t set out to frighten anyone by sharing Oscar’s experience. She says:
“We don’t share our story to scaremonger or for any kind of recognition. We would truly hate for anyone to have to experience what we did the night I gave Oscar CPR. But on the off chance that someone may be in that situation, we would like to think that they know what to do and have the confidence to do it. Those two hours spent in 2017 saved our beautiful son’s life in 2019; it could have been a very different outcome. We want to thank Emily, our trainer and the Mini First Aid team from the bottom of our hearts. We are eternally grateful.“
Rachel, thank you so much for sharing yours and Oscar's story to raise awareness of learning CPR. We are so relieved that you were able to apply the skills you'd learned with Mini First Aid to save Oscar's life that night. Good luck with the rest of your challenges, we know you're going to smash it!
All the best, Mini First Aid x
Want to learn CPR or need a refresher?
Come to one of our friendly 2 hour parent and child first aid classes! You can even bring your baby along! As well as learning life-saving CPR, you'll learn how to deal with breaks, bumps and burns and also learn how to spot the signs of life-threatening meningitis and sepsis. Book today.
Looking for a lovely gift?
This fantastic book bundle is just £9.99 and as well as being lovely stories, they teach children about basic first aid! Go on an adventure with Freddie who teaches children how to make a 999 call and help an adult in an emergency so that they can be a real life superhero! "Sit, Chop, Chew" teaches children how to avoid choking and encourages good habits around mealtimes for the entire family. Perfect for story time and ideal for curious little ones who love to learn!