West Yorkshire police officer, Karen Stanton has penned an emotive account of nearly losing a 13yo in her arms in an accident that could have ended differently if he'd only worn a helmet.
Off duty and out walking with her 10-year-old daughter, Stanton came across what she describes as "a scene of total devastation, a parent's worst nightmare".
After 16 years in the force, once Karen had made sure her own daughter was safe, she went into 'cop mode'.
Stanton writes: "A 13 year old boy had been knocked off his bicycle, he landed head first and was unconscious bleeding profusely."
“I could feel a serious compressed skull fracture and feared he would die in my arms”
As the first person on the scene, Stanton had a big job her hands.
"I had to reassure 8/10 other young boys and the driver of the van (who had stopped) that the boy (Jack) was going to be ok even though I could feel a serious compressed skull fracture and feared he would die in my arms. I updated the call taker and ask for every available unit- that this was a potentially fatal road traffic collision," she writes.
While her own daughter watched on, Stanton did everything possible to stabilise Jack until the paramedics arrived.
"12 minutes I reassured Jack while his fight or flight mode kicked in, ensuring he didn't move. 12 minutes of my daughter watching her mum try to save the life of a boy she did not know. 12 minutes and finally everyone one was there," writes Stanton.
“I expected the worst. I didn’t sleep all night.”
As she left the scene covered in Jack's blood, Stanton knew that Jack was still alive but had extreme doubts that he would survive his injuries.
Asking colleagues to keep her updated, Stanton found out that Jack had been rushed to theatre for surgery for skull and spinal injuries.
"Injuries that could've been lessened if he'd just had a helmet on."
Helmets save lives
According to Safe Kids, properly-fitted helmets can reduce the risk of head injuries by at least 45 percent – yet less than half of Australian children 14 and under usually wear a bike helmet.
With the permission of Jack's mum, Stanton is sharing their story in the hopes that it helps get the message across that helmets save lives.
Stanton writes: "I don't care if they're not 'cool' or that 'none of my mates wear one', they're our babies, our heartbeats, our world and we need to do everything we can to protect them.
"Make them look 'uncool' make them be the one out of the group that does wear a helmet - be that one parent that doesn't get the call that Jack's mum, Vicki, did last Wednesday, avoid waiting for answers while your child is in surgery not knowing if they're going to come out of the other side.
"I assure you that not one of Jacks friends thought he looked cool last Wednesday fighting for his life by the side of the road."