A TEENAGE lifeguard from Dewsbury has encouraged others to learn first aid techniques after saving the life of a baby on a train.
Nicole Bowler, 18, who works as a casual lifeguard at Dewsbury Sports Centre, was travelling to Manchester when she heard a commotion in an adjoining carriage.
The shouts were coming from the mother of a baby girl who had begun to choke on her food.
“I heard cries of ‘does anybody know what to do?’, but no-one was responding,” said A-level student Nicole.
“The train was extremely busy and everyone was packed in. I had to shout ‘I know first aid, let me through’, as I made my way to the baby.
“I asked the woman if it was alright to take her child and she threw her into my arms.”
Using knowledge acquired from a lifeguarding course she took in March 2019, Nicole managed to dislodge the food obstruction that was preventing the child, believed to be around a year old, from breathing.
“In that moment you don’t really think about what’s happening. My only thought was that I knew what I had to do and I just needed to help,” she said.
“I flipped the baby over so her chest was resting on my forearm and I had my hand under her chin.
“Then I tilted the baby so her head was facing the floor and applied two ‘back blows’ to the upper back. After the second one I managed to dislodge the food.”
Nicole described experiencing an overwhelming feeling of relief as other passengers in the carriage gave her a rapturous round of applause.
“When the baby started to cry again everyone was so relieved – quite a few people were crying themselves.
“Passengers were coming up to me and asking if I was a paramedic! They were all really appreciative.”
But the most appreciative person on the train was the mother of the young baby, who hugged Nicole for 30 minutes until they reached their destination.
“I got off the train and as soon as I got out of the crowd, what I had just done hit me. I couldn’t believe it.
“I called my mum to tell her what had happened and we ended up crying down the phone to each other.
“Unfortunately I didn’t get the family’s details, everything was rushed and it all went at 100mph.”
Nicole, who attended St John Fisher Catholic Voluntary Academy in Dewsbury, is now encouraging other people to take up first aid training.
“It was pure coincidence that I was on that train and it’s down to my lifeguard training that I knew how to react and what to do,” she said.
“I would definitely encourage everyone to take up some sort of first aid training.”
KAL trustee Dawn Stephenson said: “We are immensely proud of Nicole and her ability to react so quickly to ultimately save a life.
“KAL’s lifeguard courses teach valuable life skills which Nicole demonstrated so well.”