Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) lifeguard Lauren Cooke will never forget her recent holiday to Crete. The 19-year-old was having dinner with her family in a beachside restaurant, when she stepped in to save a baby from choking.
The restaurant was fairly quiet with only one other family eating there, which ensured that Lauren instantly heard the cries for help from the distressed parents.
Lauren, who patrols beaches in East Yorkshire during the summer, explained, ‘The child’s mother and father were panicking as they didn’t know what to do and were beside themselves. The dad was trying to stop the nine-month-old from choking by slapping his back.
‘As an RNLI lifeguard we receive comprehensive casualty care training from the charity. Even though I was on holiday, these lifesaving skills immediately kicked in, I don’t think they ever really leave you.
‘When I approached, the little boy was turning blue in the face, so I knew that time was critical and that I had to act quickly. I performed five slaps on his back and one chest thrust. Thankfully this dislodged the food from his windpipe and he started breathing again. I continued to monitor him until his breathing normalised.
‘His parents were so relived once he started to get his colour back, their fear and panic simply drained away. They were so overwhelmed and couldn’t thank me enough. On my advice they then took him to hospital for a check-up.
‘If I hadn’t been in that restaurant that night, it could have been a very different story. I‘m just so grateful that I was in the right place at the right time – it’s certainly a holiday I’ll never forget.’
RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor, David Brant said: ‘We’re so proud of Lauren and she’s a real asset to our charity, even when she was off-duty and on holiday, she immediately knew what to do.
‘Without Lauren’s swift intervention the little boy might not have survived. It’s testament to the RNLI’s stringent training programme and Lauren’s cool head that the situation had a happy outcome.’