Hadleigh teacher steps in to save Bailey Smith Woods, five, after he nearly chokes on a strawberry

A reception teacher saved Bailey Smith Woods life by using the skills she'd learnt at St John Ambula

A reception teacher saved Bailey Smith Woods life by using the skills she'd learnt at St John Ambulance training - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

A reception teacher who stepped in to save a five-year-old boy who choked on a strawberry has been hailed a hero by his mother.

Sarah, Bailey and Jan

Sarah, Bailey and Jan - Credit: Archant

Sarah Woods, from Hadleigh, said that without the quick-thinking actions of Jan Jarrald, who works at St Mary’s Church of England Primary School in the town, her son Bailey would not be alive now.

Now the 45-year-old, who has three daughters and two sons including Bailey, is calling on all parents to learn the life-saving skills used by Mrs Jarrald on that day.

Bailey and his classmates had been served strawberries as a Friday afternoon treat, before parents arrived to collect them at the end of the school day.

Mrs Jarrald said: “I’d cut the strawberries in half to make them go further and suddenly Bailey started choking.

Bailey with (left to right) Blair, Sarah and Leon Smith Woods, plus Callia Casey.

Bailey with (left to right) Blair, Sarah and Leon Smith Woods, plus Callia Casey. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

“He turned bright red and was clearly very distressed. I tried back blows first but he was still in great distress so I did abdominal thrusts.

“It was all very frightening like some kind of out of body experience. Then he just said: I’m alright now.

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“He seemed fine afterwards - just a bit embarrassed I think. But it really shook me up.”

The drama happened earlier this year – just two weeks after Mrs Jarrald had refreshed her knowledge of dealing with life or death situations during a St John’s Ambulance training course.

Bailey’s mum has first aid training, and has also completed a paediatric first aid course.

But Ms Woods said: “Without Jan, Bailey would not be alive now. I was shaking when I brought him home and I just sat there looking at him thinking how grateful I am to her.

“I’m not sure I would have reacted as quickly as Jan did. Bailey might not be here now if it wasn’t for her.

“We need to get the message out there that all parents and anyone who looks after children need to learn first aid.

She added: “You just never know when you might be faced with a situation like this.”

Ms Woods is now planning to get Jan a “very special end of term present” to show her appreciation.

“She’s a hero, really, she saved my son’s life,” the mum-of-five added.

For advice on dealing with choking and other life threatening medical emergencies, or to book a first aid course, visit sja.org.uk.