a YOUNG Edinburgh couple have launched a campaign in aid of the hospital that saved their baby’s life after he almost suffocated in his car seat.
Rachael Patey and Jamie Kerr, both 24 from Straiton, prematurely welcomed their little boy, Noah, into the world on Thursday 16 November, last year.
Noah Kerr was born nine weeks early due to a condition called Tracheoesophageal Fistula (TOF) which meant he couldn’t swallow. He had three rounds of surgery less than two days into his life.
Then, five days after been allowed home, he was almost suffocated after the straps on his car seat squashed his chin towards his chest and constricted his airway. His father successfully resuscitated him and received Parent of the Year at the Local Hero Awards.
Now, the family want to raise awareness about the importance of training in car seat usage and CPR - as well as raising money for the staff at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary that helped saved his life.
Mum Rachael said: “When they said he needed surgery, I think we thought that that was what happened with all premature babies. I don’t think we realised how serious it was. It’s a complete blur.
“We can’t thank the intensive care unit enough. They’re totally there for you, they’re just phenomenal.”
However, just five days after being discharged, disaster struck for the family. Noah had been in his car seat for less than ten minutes, when his parents noticed that the strap was stopping him from breathing.
“I screamed”, said Rachael. “I’ve heard of babies going blue, but Noah was properly black in colour.”
She frantically removed her son from the seat and it was at this point that her partner jumped into action.
“I was crying and Jamie took over. Thankfully, neonatal had taught us CPR because Noah was on oxygen. But it’s one thing to learn and another to do it on your own son.
“If it wasn’t for Jamie, Noah wouldn’t be here today.”
The paramedics arrived promptly and rushed Noah back to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
“Those six minutes of waiting felt like forever. It was the hardest thing of my whole life”, said Rachael.
Noah had passed a car seat test while in the neonatal unit, and was deemed suitable for being held in a car seat.
“I didn’t realise there was a wrong way to fasten him in the seat”, Rachael said. “I’m speaking to my health visitor to try and get car seat training included in antenatal classes. Everyone should have the option to learn these things.”
In a Facebook plea, which was shared nearly 400 times, Rachael called out to other parents to spread the word about “incorrect positioning” of children in car seats, saying: “Me and Jamie will never forget that night. We never want anybody else to have those memories.”
The parents are currently reaching out to local businesses to contribute gifts to be raffled, and hope to host a sponsored walk in September.
Nearly four weeks since he last left hospital, Noah is doing well and has even begun weaning. “The help is there”, Rachael said. “Ask for it. The staff believe it’s important and that every parent should receive it too. They just don’t always have the funding.”