Lifesaver Bev backs first aid campaign

Bev Sykes with son Samuel, left and daughter Leah
Bev Sykes with son Samuel, left and daughter Leah
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Quick-thinking mum Bev Sykes saved her baby’s life after he started choking during a wedding reception.

Her 10-month-old son Samuel was struggling to breathe after he picked up some bread from the table.

Bev, who was a children’s nurse at Leeds General Infirmary at the time, pulled Samuel out of his highchair and placed him face-down on her thigh before giving him three back blows causing the food to fly out.

Bev, who lives in Alwoodley, said: “He had picked the bread up himself from the table and we had our eye on him.

“He began making these odd gurgling noises and I expected him to cough it up. But he couldn’t clear it, so I grabbed him out of the chair, put him on my thigh and gave him the back blows.

“Everyone on the table and around us had begun to flap but I knew what to do.

“I was fully trained in first aid but had never saved a baby from choking before.

“It’s different with your own child and I was so relieved afterwards.

“It just shows how first aid can be needed at any time anywhere.”

The 35-year-old is now supporting a new campaign launched by first aid charity St John Ambulance.

Figures reveal more than four-fifths of Leeds parents do not know how to save a baby from choking, despite four in 10 having witnessed such an incident.

The new research also shows the majority of parents name choking children as their greatest first aid fear and feel knowing first aid would help them feel better prepared.

The charity has called on the support of comedians David Walliams, David Mitchell, Johnny Vegas and Sir John Hurt to star in a new advert showing a doll giving first aid to a jelly baby choking on a peanut.

St John Ambulance regional director Simon Dunn said: “Knowing what to do in an emergency can be the difference between life and death, especially with something like choking.

“We all know how time-pressed parents are, so this film makes it as easy as possible to learn first aid – in less than 40 seconds we can all know a skill that could save a life.”

To watch the film and for first aid advice visit www.sja.org.uk/TheChokeables.