Dad saves choking son just days after first aid lesson

A Wigan man saved his choking son's life using skills he had happened to pick up just days earlier.

Friday, 1st July 2016, 7:00 am
Jon and Jackson Chamberlain

Jon Chamberlain had never been on a first aid course, but observed one by chance less than a week before he needed to come to three-year-old Jackson’s rescue.

So on finding the youngster fighting for breath, the cool-headed Standish dad knew exactly what to do, and after bending the youngster forward and giving him several slaps between the shoulder blades with the heel of his hand, a stone was dislodged from Jackson’s throat.

Today Mr Chamberlain urged everyone to learn basic life-saving techniques and shuddered to think what might have happened to his son had he not acquired them himself just in the nick of time.

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Mr Chamberlain learnt the technique because, by pure coincidence, he had very recently observed a group of young people learning first aid at Wigan’s Rathbone Centre in Bridgeman Terrace.

As St John Ambulance first aid trainer Adam Thoday started to talk about first aid for toddlers and babies, Jon watched on as the students learned to deal with a choking toddler.

Just days later Jon arrived home to find Jackson happily playing in the garden.

Jon said: “Jackson is a typical, lively three-year-old and like lots of toddlers, everything goes in his mouth.

“He suddenly came running into the kitchen holding his neck with both hands, choking and already turning blue.

“I just knew I had to stay calm and act fast.

“Adam’s training all came back to me and I supported Jackson in a forward leaning position and gave him five firm back slaps between the shoulder blades.

“A small stone shot out and Jackson started to breathe again.

“If I hadn’t had the skills and confidence to act this story could have had a very different outcome.

“I really would urge people to learn.

“Even basic first aid skills can save lives.’

Graham Ellis, training and community projects manager for St John Ambulance, said: “We are thrilled that Jon was able to help when little Jackson really needed it and we would encourage everyone to learn.

“First aid really can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.”

St John Ambulance offers a range of first aid training courses at venues across the North West.

Call 0161 443 0106 for more information.

For those looking for quick, easily accessible first aid information, the St John Ambulance app is available free on smartphones and the website ( offers demonstration videos, an interactive game, and lots of free advice.