South Scotland

Innerleithen child dialled 999 after mother's collapse

Rychel family
Rowan Rychel phoned the emergency services after her mother collapsed

Police have praised a two-year-old girl who dialled 999 after her mother collapsed in their home.

Francesca Rychel, 28, was left lying unconscious in the living room of their house at Innerleithen in the Borders.

Her daughter, Rowan, then picked up the phone and called emergency services.

They arrived and Ms Rychel was taken to hospital. Police said it was an "inspirational piece of work" by the child and that without her actions the situation could have been "much worse".

The incident happened on 16 September at about 14:00 BST when Ms Rychel tried to stand up but then fainted and fell to the ground.

As a result of her fall, police said her leg ended up in a "horrific and clearly unnatural position".

She also struck her head on a wooden cabinet, causing her to lose consciousness.

When Rowan - who has just turned two - could not wake her mother, she dialled 999.

She then spoke to emergency services and told them her mother was sleeping and would not wake up.

Police officers from Peebles were sent to the scene and when they arrived they saw Rowan in her nappy running through to the living room.

They forced entry to the house where they found Ms Rychel on the floor.

A spokesman said: "Rowan was, at this time, very calm sitting on her mother's stomach and saying 'mummy'."

Police car
Police said they would be nominating Rowan for an award in recognition of her actions

Her mother remained "unconscious and unresponsive" for a time but slowly began to respond to police while they waited for an ambulance to arrive.

Following assessment and treatment from paramedics she was taken to hospital where she was treated for a minor head injury and a dislocated knee.

Ms Rychel said: "My husband Robert and I don't really understand how she knew what to do.

"She has dialled 999 a few times in the past, I think just because that was the first number she came to, and I explained to her that she should only ever call that number in a real emergency.

"At the time I didn't think it had really sunk in but she had obviously been listening closely.

"We are so proud of her and are making sure she has an extra special birthday and gets really spoiled this year."

'Serious consequences'

Insp Mike Wynne said the young girl's actions were to be commended.

"For a two-year-old child to remain calm and have the knowledge and ability to dial 999 is remarkable," he said.

"If it were not for Rowan's actions her mother may have lain unconscious for a lengthy period of time with possibly serious consequences.

"Even on arrival of the emergency services Rowan was unfazed and showed exceptional calmness."

He described her as a "wonderful bright toddler" and said it would be a pleasure to nominate her for an award in recognition of her actions.

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