First aid training helps mum save girl from choking

Sayma Akter with daughter Arddi, who hyperventilated after falling from a sofa
Sayma Akter with daughter Arddi, who hyperventilated after falling from a sofa
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A MOTHER who learned first aid at college has credited her new training with saving her daughter’s life, after springing into action when she started to choke.

Sayma Akter, a student at Stevenson College Edinburgh, recently completed British Red Cross first aid training as part of a course to improve her English.

She was forced to put what she had learned into practice when her four-year-old daughter Arddi, who attends Stanwell nursery school, started hyperventilating after falling from the sofa in her Edinburgh home, causing her to choke.

She has now started volunteering with the British Red Cross to help raise first aid awareness among local minority groups, particularly the Bangladeshi community.

Recalling the incident, the mum-of-one, who is originally from Bangladesh and has lived in Edinburgh for seven years, said she was frozen with fear as Arddi struggled to breathe. She said she somehow managed to pull herself together and put what she had learned in the classroom to good use.

She said: “It all happened very quickly but felt like a lifetime – I thought she might not breathe again.

“Thank goodness I had completed the first aid course, as the knowledge was still fresh in my mind. I’m very thankful to both Stevenson College and the British Red Cross for the training.

“Arddi was playing on the sofa in our home when she fell and began to choke. I was really scared.

“I managed to stop panicking and started to slap her back. After the fourth slap, Arddi started to breathe again and in less than a minute she was OK.”

Sayma, who lives in the Leith Walk area with Arddi and husband Shaiful Islam, contacted NHS 24 after the incident for advice, but Arddi did not require hospital treatment.

Sayma learned CPR and techniques to stop choking as part of the British Red Cross Black and Minority Ethnic Capacity Building project held at the college.

Kay Penman, senior lecturer at Stevenson College Edinburgh, said: “When I invited the British Red Cross to give my students a first aid lesson, I had no idea how useful it would prove to be.

“I was totally astonished when Sayma told me she had saved her daughter’s life using the techniques she’d picked up during the training. I was not surprised, however, that she had been able to do so – the training was excellent, very enjoyable, full of practical exercises and accessible to all the students, whatever their level of English.”

Sayma, who is now studying for an Intermediate 2 ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) qualification to further improve her English, now attends the British Red Cross headquarters in South Gyle once or twice a month to help out and for further first aid training.