Girl, 8, narrowly avoids death using Devon tool

Caitlin-Mae with her parents Laura Hale and Brett Stanley
Caitlin-Mae with her parents Laura Hale and Brett Stanley -Credit:Submitted

An eight-year-old schoolgirl has been saved from choking to death while eating a sausage thanks to a device her parents bought from a Devon-based live-saving business. The frightening incident took place last Wednesday, April 17, when Caitlin-Mae was eating her tea and then suddenly went 'silent and purple'.

Her quick-thinking parents Laura Hale and her fiancé Brett Stanley, of Cradley Heath, near Birmingham, tried to dislodge the piece of meat along with other first aid techniques while on the phone to 999. After 30 seconds had passed and Caitlin-Mae was still choking, they grabbed an anti-choking device called LifeVac which they had bought last year as their children have special needs.

The mum-of-four told BirminghamLive: "We lay her down and we put it over her mouth, it's like an oxygen mask, and sucked it. After the second suck, the sausage came out. She was struggling to breathe a little bit afterwards, she was coughing a lot."

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Paramedics soon arrived and made sure Caitlin-Mae, who has autism, was okay. A good sign was she wanted to carry on eating her tea afterwards.

The LifeVac anti-choking device
The LifeVac anti-choking device -Credit:LifeVac

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It was the first time Laura had needed to use the life-saving device and said she would 'definitely' recommend it to other parents. LifeVac is based in South Molton. It claims to have helped save 2,084 lives in a choking emergency, with 1,325 being children.

LifeVac devices are single-use due to cross-contamination but, if used, the firm replaces them free of charge.