The importance of infant first aid awareness

When my daughter was four weeks old, I was faced with something that no parent should ever have to experience. One night after a lovely evening, my four week old baby went limp and lifeless in my arms.

She had stopped breathing.

The minutes that followed were the longest of my life. I was guided through CPR by a 999 call handler as we painstakingly waited for the paramedics to arrive. Luckily for us, she had “just” gone into shock. She started breathing after a few rounds of CPR. We were blue-lighted to hospital with her hooked up to multiple machines, and after hours and copious checks by a multitude of different professionals we were given the all-clear.

I’m aware others aren’t as lucky. As we left the hospital with our precious bundle, I remember thinking how there would be mothers just like me who had to leave empty handed and broken hearted. That thought still gives me shivers and makes my eyes fill.

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This photo was taken a the afternoon before the incident. It has always opened my eyes to how quickly things can turn into a life threatening situation.

It did highlight for me, however, how important it is to have some knowledge of infant first aid. I actually used to teach First Aid at Work, and whilst we never covered infants this definitely helped me to perform CPR. I remember I didn’t even cry. Despite thinking my daughter was dead, my brain went into fight mode and I just moved through the motions. It could have saved her life. We will never know, but my sweet husband once said to me his gratitude in giving his daughter life – twice.

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Harper and I recovering at home. I couldn’t put her down for days afterwards, and my husband I even took “shifts” watching her sleep.

I am sharing my experiences as i want to raise awareness for the importance of having first aid training. My experience is very rare, however a number of my friends have experiences some pretty scary choking incidents. So many places offer first aid training, and infant ones can often be done in an organised group or in the comfort of your own home. If you cannot get to a course, or if you’d life a refresher, St John’s Ambulance have done these great YouTube Videos.

Infant CPR 

Infant Choking

To read a more in-depth account of that frightening night, head to my post Our Fright with Tongue Tie.

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