WHEN young mum Monica Cunningham was faced with a medical emergency, she had no idea how to respond.
Her son, Thomas, had picked up a seemingly innocuous silver seal from a tube of heat rub and popped it in his mouth - as babies do.
“Thomas was sitting at my feet, I saw what he was chewing on and it went down – he’s fine now,” Mrs Cunningham said.
“I heard about the little kid who lost his life in Tasmania choking on a bouncy ball and I had looked up choking on YouTube a few weeks before.
“We didn’t realise we were doing it all wrong.”
In a landmark Tamworth course, Mrs Cunningham was one of nine parents who learned child CPR from registered nurse Allison Roberts.
“The main thing we’re trying to get through to people is the knowledge and confidence to start doing something, so even if their brain goes totally blank the fact they get to do hands on practice here is the key,” she said.
Regional and rural parents need to be more on the ball, Ms Roberts said, because not everyone has a 10 minute ambulance call time.
“You have to be so much tougher out here, if you’re more rural to cope you really need to roll you sleeves up and get into it,” Ms Roberts said.
The course covered choking, drowning, head injury, poisoning, burns and envenomation.
CPR Kids branched out to more regional areas in response to the tragic death of three-year-old Alby Davis, who choked on a bouncy ball in Tasmania in March.
It can happen to any parent, Mrs Cunningham said, but taking part in the course has helped her confidence in responding.
“Now I’d be more confident, I’d be more engaged in being able to help someone or my own kids, rather than stand back not knowing what to do,” she said.
“I definitely think more parents should do it, just to make you more confident in being able to care for your kids.”
On this leg of the trip, CPR Kids visits Newcastle, Gunnedah, Tamworth and Armidale.
Working as a midwife previously and now a registered pediatric nurse, Ms Roberts said her goal is to create a society where almost anyone is trained to respond to a medical emergency involving a child.
“Once they’re on the move the chance of choking is high, effective CPR outside the hospital makes a huge difference,” she said.
“Kids get into mischief, once you have a child you’re in that demographic of being around other people’s kids.
“What a fabulous society we would have if we had 80 per cent of the population able to help in those situations.”
The course took place on Wednesday, before heading to Armidale.
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