Laverick award presented to four-year-old boy who helped his dad

Laverick award presented to four-year-old boy who helped his dad

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From left to right: Graeme Tedds, Gemma Cottam, Sebastian Cottam, Robert Cottam, Sarah Ruckledge, and Anthony Hancock
A four-year-old boy from Langley Mill has received a Laverick award from staff at East Midlands Ambulance service for remaining brave during a distressing situation.

Sebastian Cottam discovered his dad, Robert Cottam, unconscious at the bottom of the stairs in their family home.

Robert had just made lunch for himself and his son before they were due to go for a walk. But when he got to the top of the stairs, he began to feel dizzy, and blacked out.

The impact of the fall caused Robert to dislocate his right shoulder and left knee.

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As soon as Sebastian realised what had happened to his dad, he sprung into action. 

Robert said: "The first thing I can remember is Sebastian trying to wake me up and making sure that I was OK.

I couldn't move so Sebastian went upstairs and fetched my phone so I was able to then call the ambulance. He also managed to get my medicine tin so I could take some pain relief."

Robert suffers from Ehlers-Danos syndromes which are a group of rare inherited conditions which affect connective tissue. Therefore, Robert's joints can overstretch, which means he is prone to falling. 

Sebastian's mum and Robert's partner, Gemma Cottam, was at work and was just talking about the last time he had fallen down the stairs in November, when she received the phone call.

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Gemma said: "My instant reaction was 'where is Sebastian?' and had Robert rang an ambulance. Then I left work.

"I couldn't be any prouder of Sebastian than I already am. He's such a brilliant little boy. It's important that all children are aware of what they should do in an emergency situation."

Sarah Ruckledge, the 999 call handler who took Robert's call, said that she was very impressed by how calm Sebastian was.

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Sarah said: "Robert was dazed but managed to tell me that he had his four-year-old son with him. Sebastian waited for the crew to arrive and let the crew come in. He did amazingly well."

"It's nice to see the patients face-to-face, which I don't normally get to do. It's great to get the whole story and see that everything turned out well in the end."

When help arrived, Sebastian opened the door to Emergency Care Assistant, Gareme Tedds and Ambulance Technician, Anthony Hancock who assessed the situation and got Robert to hospital.

Anthony said: "Sebastian appeared very calm. Once he opened the door to us he went back inside and sat on the sofa. Robert had been telling us what Sebastian had been doing while he had been waiting for our arrival.

"When Sebastian's mum arrived she told me that he was very aware of stranger danger but he was able to know that that his dad was unwell, knew who we were, and answer the door to us. That's really positive." 

The Laverick award, which recognises children and young adults who have gone above and beyond to help someone, is in memory of Nick Laverick - a paramedic and team leader who died of cancer on his birthday in September 2013.

Discovery Day Nursery, which Sebastian attends, have recently invited staff from fire, police, and nursing to educate the children on when it is appropriate to use the 999 service.

Nursery manager Mandy Gilbert said: "We at Discovery are extremely proud of Sebastian. We are happy that our recent topic about people who help us when needed has been used in such a fantastic way."