19 May 2017

Feature: Baby & Child Resuscitation Classes

When she almost lost her baby to cot death, Natasha helped rewrite the rules at her local ambulance service and started life-saving baby resuscitation classes for other parents 

The moment Natasha, a mother of four, discovered her 11-week-old baby had stopped breathing set her on a path to founding her own campaign, Baby Resuscitation, which she runs voluntarily; helping to train parents, grandparents and carers on how to revive babies and children. 

Natasha, 38, started non-profit community project Baby Resuscitation after Ava-Mai suffered an episode known as ‘near miss cot death’ so other parents would know what to do if their baby stopped breathing. 

She will never forget the day in 2010 when she put Ava-Mai down for a nap as usual.

“I don't know what it was that made me go and check on her but something did and when I got to the cot she was blue and floppy, just like a little rag doll,” Natasha says.   

While Karl phoned 999, Natasha desperately tried to revive the baby with what she hoped was correct mouth-to-mouth.   

“I didn’t have any training, it was just what I’d seen on the telly,” she says.    

The family had to wait 36 frantic minutes for an ambulance to arrive but eventually AvaMai was taken to hospital where she had to be resuscitated on two further occasions.   

A consultant warned Natasha her baby might not survive the night but Ava-Mai began to recover. Her parents were told she had suffered a ‘near miss cot death’ and the cause was unknown.   

“I literally caught her on the brink of dying,” says Natasha.   Ava-Mai made a full recovery and the whole family was trained in resuscitation in case it happened again.   

Natasha decided to set up classes for other parents to learn what to do too, so they wouldn’t suffer the same ordeal.   

“I told Karl I needed to do something and it was my therapy,” she says.    

Natasha made contact with Kate Baker, a resuscitation officer who trains hospital doctors.   

Mum-of-two Kate was keen and agreed to lead a course. The Resuscitation Council helped by writing guidelines on what they should teach parents.    

More resuscitation experts signed up and Natasha now runs around 10 classes a year, training 900 people so far. Natasha has been contacted by grateful parents who have used the techniques learned to save their own babies. 
Natasha says: “I’ve had two mums that have used it on their children and saved their lives as a result.   

“It makes me feel really fantastic. I set out to do this so that other people don’t go through what we went through and so other families don’t suffer."   

Natasha is calling for resuscitation training to be included in antenatal and postnatal care and has a online petition. Kimberley Walsh (Girls Aloud) attended one of our courses and after this she has signed this petition as she also believes this training should be giving at antenatal or postnatal care and is in full support.    

She says: “We can muddle through sterilising bottles and we can muddle through nappies and weaning."   

“If they stop breathing you don’t want to be muddling. You want to know what to do.”    

As well as putting on the classes, Natasha wanted to save any other parent the agonising 36 minute wait for an ambulance she’d endured.   
After talking to her local ambulance service, Natasha learned that a paramedic car in her village was told to stand down because of Ava-Mai was under a year old and the paramedic didn’t have the training to deal with her case.   

Natasha met the heads of South Central Ambulance Service and, after a year of discussions, the rules were changed. First responders like paramedics are now trained to attend babies.   

Natasha says: “I wanted to make a change to show my children that you don’t have to live with the cards you’re dealt, you can take something really bad and make it something really good.”   

She also campaigned to change the protocol of her local ambulance service so that first responders can attend babies.

Natasha says "We are trying to gain more exposure for our Not For Profit Community Project, Baby Resuscitation.  Founded in 2011 after out personal experience, we offer baby and child resuscitation training courses  currently over the South of England.  We work with medical professionals and organisations (such as the Resus Council and St John Ambulance), and as a co-founder (with my husband), I have been awarded a “Point of Light Award” from David Cameron (in his role as Prime Minister), won the “Inspirational Award” at the Venus Awards, and won “Tesco Community Mum of the Year 2015”.

We currently have a online petition to have resuscitation as part of antenatal or postnatal care. Kimberley Walsh (Girls Aloud) attended one of our courses and after this  she has signed this petition as she also believes this training should be giving at antenatal or postnatal care and is in full support of this petition. 

Having been through this myself, we are looking to highlight what we do and the importance of making this training available for all parents. For us it is simply about giving parents potentially lifesaving skills at very little cost" 

We are also on Twitter @babyresus and Instagram @babyresuscitation 


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