Hassocks mum uses first aid skill to save choking daughter

Elke and Sophie Haworth SUS-150327-111043001
Elke and Sophie Haworth SUS-150327-111043001

A quick-thinking mum is urging others to learn first aid after her daughter choked on a sweet.

Elke Hammond, from Hassocks, used the skills she learnt at a St Johns Ambulance training course after a gobstopper got lodged in her daughter’s throat.

Elke, 38,her husband and three children were in the car heading away for the weekend on March 14.

The children had each been given a gobstopper sweet to eat, when suddenly nine-year-old Sophie began clapping loudly trying to get their attention.

Elke said: “You could see the fear in her eyes. The sweet was lodged in her throat – she wasn’t able to swallow it, or cough it up.

“My husband immediately pulled over on to the hard shoulder and Sophie leaned through the gap between the front seats, where I was able to give her some firm back slaps.

After the third slap, the sweet flew out.

Elke Hammond

“After the third slap, the sweet flew out.

“It all happened very quickly and, as you can imagine, Sophie was quite upset afterwards.”

This happened just days after Elke had taken part in a St John Ambulance first aid course held for parents at her son’s school, St Lawrence C of E Primary School in Hurstpierpoint.

The course had been organised by the PTA, and despite having annual first aid training at work, Elke said she felt it was important to learn first aid techniques specifically for children.

“I feel it’s really important to know what to do, so you can help your own children as well as those who are in your care.

“I often have my children’s friends over to play and I’d hate to feel helpless should a situation arise where first aid was needed.

“A first aid course only takes a few hours and covers everything from burns and bleeding, to cardiac arrests.

“In my case, the session on choking proved to be invaluable just days later.”

Marita Edwards, schools and community training coordinator for St John Ambulance said: “Learning first aid could help you be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.

“It only takes a few hours of your time, but that may be all that’s needed to enable you to help someone who needs it – whether it’s your child, a loved one, a friend or a stranger.”

St John’s Ambulance, which is a charity, believes that nobody should die because they needed first aid and didn’t get it.

A spokesman for the charity said: “St John Ambulance teaches people first aid so that they can be the difference.”

To find out more about the charity visit www.sja.org.uk.