Dad shares first aid warning after four-year-old chocked on a coin

Alex Cole-Hamilton has shared how he saved his four-year-old daughter from choking on a coin.

On Saturday night, Edinburgh Western MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton resuscitated his daughter Darcy after she swallowed a coin while playing on a computer.

He told BBC Radio Scotland that he was alerted by a ‘strangled cry’. Although Darcy was struggling for breath, she was able to tell him that she had swallowed a coin.

The dad soon realised that his daughter had actually stopped breathing.

Luckily, some ‘half-remembered’ first aid lessons he had had while learning to dive 25 years ago suddenly came back with ‘laser beam focus’. ‘I inverted her, turned her upside down, applied five or six firm back slaps with an open hand to her back,’ he explained.

‘Eventually she was sick,’ he continued. ‘She didn’t bring up the coin but she shifted it because I heard her gasp after she was sick.’ Darcy later had the coin removed from her airway under general anaesthetic.

The politician, who took to Twitter to share his story, said he now wants to ‘build awareness of how easy it is to learn basic first aid,’ after finding out that many parents haven’t had any training. Shockingly, choking is the fourth leading cause of accidental death in children under five.

‘This is a hard thread to write. It isn’t a political post. It’s got nothing to do with my job,’ he wrote. ‘But it’s important to me to share it tonight.’

‘My dad did exactly this for me when I was maybe 3 years old and he saw me standing in a corner turning blue while a roomful of adults chatted,’ one Twitter user responded. ‘I remember it vividly. He’s no longer here but I am, all thanks to him. Here’s to quick thinking and decisive dads.’

For more information about where to find first-aid courses, visit British Red Cross’ first-aid training website or St John Ambulance’s website

Thankfully, this cautionary tale had a happy ending. In a tweet the following evening, Alex said, ‘Darcy’s safe and happy tonight, bothering her brothers and eating like a horse, and I am counting blessings.’