Wigan mum's mission to help parents save young lives

Francesca and Thomas
Francesca and Thomas
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A mother whose baby choked when he was only three weeks old is on a mission to get parents and carers on a life-saving first aid course.

Francesca Lowe’s son Thomas choked on milk and stopped breathing as she was driving three years ago.

Francesca and Thomas with the firefighters who saved his life

Francesca and Thomas with the firefighters who saved his life

She stopped at Leigh fire station for help and the crew gave him first aid to help him breathe again, later receiving an award for their efforts.

Afterwards, Francesca attended a first aid course for parents so she would know what to do if there was another emergency.

Francesca, who also has an eight-year-old daughter named Olivia, said: “When Thomas choked I didn’t know what to do. I just turned him over and whacked him on the back. I didn’t know if he was still choking or breathing properly.

“I went to the fire station because I didn’t know if he was okay and because I didn’t know how bad it was. I thought a fire station has a fire engine, which is like an ambulance, and they train staff on people not breathing.”

Realising the importance of first aid, Francesca wanted to share the new skills she had learned with other parents.

She has now started running Save A Baby’s Life classes each week so others will know what to do.

The 43-year-old said: “It’s a really needed skill and the more people who learn it and the more accessible it is, the better. If you have not had an experience like that with a child the chances are you wouldn’t do a first aid course.”

The two-hour workshop shows parents what to do if a baby is choking or drowning and how to perform CPR, through videos, presentations and practising it.

At the end of the course they are fully trained and receive a certificate.

Francesca, who lives in Golborne, runs classes at Lowton High School every Monday, from 9.30am to 11.30am.

With the support of Wigan Council, Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles and the Royal Life Saving Society, the first aid course is now being offered across the borough in start well centres.

The workshop is free to attend and there is a creche for children.

Francesca hopes similar courses for children and adults will be taught too eventually.

And she wants the first aid classes for babies to be rolled out across the country.

She said: “I went it to go to every borough. I don’t want it to stop, I want it to be in every area.

“There should be first aid courses to do when you are pregnant.

“There can be a course about giving birth or breastfeeding or first aid.”

Prof Kate Ardern, director of public health at Wigan Council, said: “Francesca has been a fantastic champion for the course and we’re happy to be supporting it in our start well centres so

other parents and carers feel confident about knowing what to do if they ever encounter a similar situation.

“It’s been a real partnership effort between Francesca, the council and Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles to deliver this crucial advice.”

Coun Jenny Bullen, cabinet member for children and young people’s services at the council, said: “It’s brilliant to see how passionate Francesca is about making a difference to other families after her experience when her son was a baby.

“I’m delighted we’re supporting parents and wider family members in our start well centres to acquire these vital skills which can save young lives.”

To find a Save A Baby’s Life course contact a start well centre or visit www.rlss.org.uk.