Gwynedd teen saves choking sister, 6, after first-aid lesson
A choking six-year-old has thanked her big sister for saving her life just two days after taking a first-aid course.
Emma, 17, spotted sister Magi Elen struggling to breathe at the cafe run by her family, and leapt into action.
The college student from Gwynedd, who has learning disabilities and epilepsy, used techniques taught just 48 hours before to dislodge stuck food.
The first words from Magi’s mouth as she began to breathe were: “I love you”.
“I was cleaning the dishes in the kitchen and Magi came in and she was choking on a sausage,” explained Emma, who is studying a life-skills foundation course at Coleg Llandrillo Glynllifon, near Caernarfon.
“She couldn’t breathe, her face was red and she was struggling to talk.”
Two days earlier, Emma had been put through her paces on a first-aid course at the college, taught by St John Ambulance Cymru.
As well as covering basic first aid techniques, such as CPR, the class were also trained on what to do if someone is choking.
“I stopped working and went to help Magi. I tapped her on the back and the sausage was coming out,” she recalled.
“With the last tap, she could breathe – and I was happy.”
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At the family home near Aberdaron on the Llŷn Peninsula, Emma’s mother Kim said she could not thank her daughter enough.
“I’m just so proud of her, I couldn’t be any more proud,” she said.
“Without Emma’s quick thinking, what could have happened? It means a lot to all of us – all the family.”
Kim said it highlighted just how valuable first aid lessons can be, and urged more people to get trained.
“The example is here, if Emma hadn’t done that course the story could have been totally different, with a different outcome.
“I cannot thank her enough – I’m so proud of her for saving her sister’s life.”
What to do if someone is choking
- Mild choking: Encourage them to cough – they may be able to clear the blockage themselves
- Severe Choking: Start back blows – lean them forward, support their chest, and give up to five sharp blows between shoulder blades with the heel of your hand
- Still choking? Give up to five abdominal thrusts – stand behind them, put clenched fist above belly button, with other hand on top pull sharply inwards and upwards (Not for babies or pregnant women)
- Still choking? If abdominal thrusts have not worked – phone 999 and tell the operator the person is choking. Continue cycles of back blows and thrusts until help arrives
- If the person loses consciousness and are not breathing, begin CPR chest compressions
Ryan Cawsey, the St John Ambulance Cymru community trainer who taught Emma, said: “Hearing Emma’s story – it fills me with a great sense of pride that she was able to use these skills in an emergency.
“And not only being able to use them, but to react in an immediate manner and be able to help her sister. Well done Emma – excellent.”
Mr Cawsey said it showed what their community courses were about.
“You never know when it will make a real difference in you community.”
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Back at Emma’s home, as the family sit down together at the kitchen table poring over old photo albums, the last word goes to Magi Elen.
“Thank you,” she says to her sister.
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