A quick-thinking mum saved her son from choking thanks to first aid training she’d received only an hour earlier.
Sara Evans had to act fast when Matthew (7) got into difficulty while eating cake at their Falkirk home.
As the youngster held his throat, she slapped him on the back several times and luckily managed to dislodge the offending chocolate cake before having to resort to the Heimlich manoeuvre which uses abdominal thrusts to clear the blockage.
Sara (29), who is also mum to Jennifer (11) and Nathan (5), learned the correct procedure on a free British Heart Foundation course run by Forth Valley College.
She had just finished the two-hour training which teaches basic emergency life support skills at the Falkirk campus when she had to put what she’d learned into action.
She said: “I was tidying up in the kitchen when Matthew, who had been eating cake, came in. He didn’t say anything, but I could hear him gagging and holding his throat and I instantly recognised he was showing the classic signs of choking.
“I couldn’t believe what was happening, but somehow kept calm and explained to him what I was going to do and that he had to cough when I told him.
“This was important as Matthew has autism and I knew he could become very distressed if he didn’t know what I had to do and why I had to do it.”
Thankfully the fourth slap dislodged the cake and Matthew was left none the worse, only taking time to say “thank you mummy” before going back to play.
Richy Todd, the college’s senior first aid trainer, said: “Sara has demonstrated how effective these skills can be when put to the test.
“When someone starts choking they have five minutes at most before they could die, so sometimes waiting for an ambulance might not be the best option.”
Sara, who is on an Access to Degree (Humanities) course, urged other parents to consider learning basic lifesaving skills.
The next free course starts on April 8. Call Chantelle Apperley on (01324) 403173 for details.