A toddler choking on a handful of 5p coins was saved when her brother used skills he spotted on a TV ad to clear her airways.
Two-year-old Star Tyack swallowed three coins and staggered – unable to breath – into a room where big brother Ty Rees was watching television.
Luckily the 12-year-old had seen St John Ambulance’s recent Chokeables advert, which shows techniques to save a baby’s life.
Following the advice given, he quickly lay Star face-down on his thigh and gave several sharp back blows – dislodging the coins enough for his sister to breath again.
Mum Marie Tyack then intervened and her boyfriend Kev Blackburn gave Star another firm back slap – and three 5p coins shot out of her mouth.
Marie, 38, of Tuffley, Glos., said that Ty had been a “hero” and his actions saved his little sister’s life.
“He was absolutely fantastic. He’s a complete hero. He was so quick and so calm.
“In instances like this every second counts and what Ty did saved his sister’s life.”
The incident happened on the evening of June 23 after Star wandered into her brother’s bedroom and took the coins from his rucksack.
She then stumbled into the room where Ty was watching TV, choking and unable to breathe or make a sound.
“He literally screamed for help,” said Marie. “I’ve never heard anything like it and I never want to hear him scream like that again.
“Obviously my boyfriend and I were there in seconds but the fact he had already dislodged the coins when we got there was amazing.
“In the time we were getting there he did exactly what he should have – he started hitting her back. Then she cried – he saved her life.”
Following the ordeal Marie and Kev, 27, took Star to hospital to get her checked over, but she was fine and scans showed she had swallowed no more foreign objects.
Marie made Ty watch the campaign created by St John Ambulance when his little sister started walking.
He insisted he would never need to help anyone choking but his mother, who feels all children should learn first aid, made him watch the ad a number of times.
Marie added: “I made him watch the video as soon as Star started walking, so he’d know what to do if she ever started choking.
“When I showed it to him he said ‘I’m never going to be on my own with Star, so I don’t need it’, but I told him he needed to watch it in case.
“He said that as soon as he saw Star choking the video just started playing in his head and he knew exactly what to do.
“He was amazingly brave and I just want to thank St John Ambulance for making the film that showed him how to save my little girl’s life.”
Jim Jones, a training manager for St John Ambulance, said: “Our video campaign was aimed at showing people what to do if a baby aged under 12 months was choking.
“But, while the techniques are different for older children and adults, the principles of how to save someone’s life in that situation are similar.
“In an emergency, it is better to do something than do nothing and Ty delivered first aid when it mattered most.
“Incidents like this show why it is absolutely vital that every child learns the skills to save lives and St John Ambulance is campaigning hard to get first aid taught in every school.”