Brooke Mathie is an incredible mum. Always mindful of protecting her kids she decided to do a first aid training course after they bought a house with a backyard pool. “And the only thing I could think of was, ‘What would I do if I found my child face down in our pool’.”
But it wasn’t the pool that almost took son Eamon’s life at the young age of two.
It was a really hot day and they’d been swimming all day. “We decided to get out of the pool and have some early dinner and as I did every afternoon in summer I gave the kids a cup with a piece of ice in it.”
She and husband Jim were on the back veranda when Eamon went to stand up and fell forward a little.
“And I thought, ‘He’s just being silly’,” Brooke says. “And I kept an eye on him because he was just not being himself.”
Eamon was choking on the ice and had turned blue.
Brooke Mathie talks about saving her son Eamon’s life after he choked on ice. Article continues after this video.
“You freeze as a parent because you don’t know what to do and your instincts are to help them, and my husband jumped straight up, ran over to him, grabbed him and he turned him upside down by his legs.”
This wasn’t the correct first aid procedure for choking however Jim didn’t know that. Thankfully Brooke did. “And then all of a sudden your training kicks in.”
She told husband Jim to give Eamon to her and she lay him over her hand and started back thrusts. “I did four back thrusts and on the fourth one the ice flew out of his mouth and across the patio, and I’ll never forget the sound that he made.
“He inhaled a scream and it was the best sound I’ve ever heard.”
On the weekend St John Ambulance launched their “Alive in 5” campaign to coincide with World First Aid Day. The aim of the day is to raise awareness of the importance of first aid training and how in as little as five minutes, a life can be saved if you have the right first aid skills.
Robert Hunt, CEO of St John Ambulance Australia, says in the time it takes a person to press snooze, make lunch or grab coffee, they can also save a life.
“Living in Australia means trips to our beautiful beaches and outdoor activities which can result in injuries like blue bottle stings, snake bites or even drowning, which is why the more prepared you are, the better your chances of surviving or helping someone in need.”
He says first aid required by adults, children and infants differ and it's important to learn the difference in what each person may need in the way of first aid.
"Adults, children, and infants have different needs when it comes to first aid. Children’s physiologies, bone structures and compensatory systems, and the types of dangers they face are different than adults; so the techniques you use on an adult are different because this could cause more harm than good if you use them incorrectly on children or infants."
If there were one first aid skill Hunt wishes everyone knew how to do, he says it would be CPR. "It makes all the difference." In fact he's had to use his first aid skills on his children more than once and says it's difficult to treat people you love but training gives you the confidence to do it effectively.
"Yes, it is. There is a lot more emotion involved, and that is why it is paramount to be first aid trained. First aid training provides more than the knowledge and skills to respond effectively – it also provides the confidence to act when needed."
First aid training saves lives. To find out more about the courses offered by St John Ambulance visit their website at stjohn.org.au or call 1300 ST JOHN (78 5646).