A father who saved his baby son’s life using recently-acquired CPR skills is urging others to learn first aid.
Alec Brown, 29, put the skills he had learned into action when his eight-month-old son Ruaridh suddenly stopped breathing as he sat in his high chair ready for lunch at the family’s home on Mull.
Initially, Mr Brown thought he had choked and looked to see if he could dislodge anything from his son’s throat but found nothing and saw that Ruaridh was turning blue.
Having called an ambulance, he carried out CPR and after a short time Ruaridh was sick and started to cry.
The incident on April 6 came just weeks after Mr Brown attended a training session led by St Andrew’s First Aid in Oban in January as part of the charity’s community engagement programme, though he nearly didn’t make it because of the weather and ferry cancellations.
Mr Brown said: “We’re just an ordinary family, living an ordinary life. You hear about these types of stories in the news but you never expect it to happen to you.
“I wanted to attend the first aid training session because I had a young family and because living on an island means that emergency medical support can take a bit longer to arrive than on the mainland. I am so glad that I did.
“When Ruaridh stopped breathing, I went into autopilot and remembered what I had been taught. I checked if he was choking and then checked his airway before beginning CPR.
“It felt like half an hour before he started breathing again but I suspect it was only a minute. I’m just so glad I made the effort to go to the demonstration.
“The ambulance arrived after 20 minutes but had I not known what to do, the ending could have been very different.”
After the incident Ruaridh was airlifted to the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow where he spent around three days, with doctors concluding the episode may have been caused by a viral infection.
Mr Brown, who lives in Tobermory with wife Kayleigh, 26, Ruaridh and Callum, three, is urging other people to learn first aid skills.
He said: “I can’t recommend strongly enough that people take the time to learn how to do even basic first aid. Many of the sessions are free and it could literally be the difference between life and death.
“We’re doing OK. It has definitely shaken us but we’re just so happy to still have Ruaridh with us and he’s doing well.”
Mr Brown is supporting the charity as it launches its seventh annual Scottish First Aid Awards showcasing the achievements of those who have helped save a life using first aid or performed an outstanding action in an emergency situation.