Shine On

14-year-old Cape Breton boy saves brother’s life with Heimlich maneuver

A 10-year-old Cape Breton boy is alive and well, thanks to the quick thinking and first aid training of his 14-year-old brother.

The two boys were watching television at home when older brother Johnathan Hines noticed his little brother Jared was choking on a piece of hard candy.

Jared tells the CBC, "I was laying down, the candy was in my cheek, then I opened my mouth for two seconds, it went back into my throat, I jump out of my seat, I ran to my brother, I was gasping for air."

Johnathan leaped into action, wrapping his arms around Jared and performing the Heimlich maneuver, something he learned in a swimming course and again in a babysitting course, reports the CBC.

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Jared is actually the youngest of six kids, all of whom are trained in first aid, in fact, their mom does first aid training in the community.

When it comes to first aid awareness in Canada, Jared was lucky to have such a well-informed family — not everyone is this up-to-date.

Don Marentette is the manager of national first aid programs for the Canadian Red Cross, and says that when a child will be ready to learn first aid really depends on their maturity level.

"We have programs that are designed for ages 8 right up to adults," says Marentette.

He says that although basic first aid is often taught in schools -- typically around grade 6 -- not enough are teaching it.

Marentette says that the number of adults properly trained is too low.

According to recent statistics from the Canadian Red Cross, one in three Canadians have never taken a first aid class, although 25 per cent said they would like to do so. Of the two thirds that have taken a first aid course, only half did so in the past three years.

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The fact that Johnathan performed first aid on his own brother is actually quite typical — among Canadians who have provided first aid, 58 per cent did so to help a family member.

There seems to be a gap between the perceived importance of first aid and the motivation to actually take a course, as nearly 80 per cent of Canadians say knowing how to perform first aid is 'very important', but just 18 per cent have taken a first aid course within the last three years.

Despite all this, Marentette says that first aid is still better than it was a decade or two ago, because now all training practices are evidence-based.

Still, there's definitely room for more of us to be as prepared as Johnathan, so that when the moment comes, we're ready to act.

For more information on first aid training, contact the Canadian Red Cross.

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