ABU DHABI // Last Christmas was one Bethany Lowe will never forget.
After putting her 15-month-old son, Sean, to bed that evening, she heard him panting through the child monitor.
Ms Lowe ran upstairs, and was shocked by what she saw.
“He was convulsing, his eyes had rolled to the back of his head and his body was extremely hot,” she said. “I immediately grabbed him, took him out of his sleeping bag, took off his pyjama bottoms, sat on the ground and held him in the recovery position.”
What lasted for a minute seemed much longer.
“After that he went limp and was non-responsive,” she said. “I kept monitoring his breathing and immediately took him to the nearest hospital.”
Doctors told Ms Lowe, from the UK, that Sean had a virus, causing his high temperature and the seizure. Her quick-thinking actions may have saved his life.
Ms Lowe said her training in paediatric first aid gave her the confidence to take action the moment she saw her son convulsing.
“I remembered being taught that if there’s a seizure to hold the child in a recovery position so that all the airways remain free and to keep him from hitting his head against something. I knew if I needed to give him CPR, I could,” she said.
“But thankfully it hadn’t reached that critical stage. My husband was away on a business function and it was only me and my sister-in-law.
“I’d hate to think of what could have happened if I had hesitated for even just a moment.”
Ms Lowe worries that Sean’s future school might not be as prepared.
“We now know that the rise in temperature can trigger the seizure, so the moment we see him warming up we take precautions to bring his temperature down,” she said. “But what scares me is what if he were to have a seizure at school?
“How would the teacher handle it? It may be too late by the time the nurse arrives, the seizure will most likely have been over.
“I would be far more comfortable knowing that the person looking after my child is qualified to step in.”
The lifestyle in this country makes paediatric first-aid training crucial, Ms Lowe said.
“Living here can mean our children are exposed to more risks, such as swimming pools and extreme temperatures and also that we tend to rely on caregivers a lot, meaning first-aid knowledge is even more important for anyone looking after children,” she said.