Five-year-old Derbyshire girl hailed a hero after calling 999 for poorly mum

April and her mum Caitlin Walsh.
April and her mum Caitlin Walsh.

A five-year-old girl has been hailed a hero after she rang for an ambulance when her mum became so ill she kept passing out.

Caitlin Walsh, 23, has Perthes disease and taught her daughter what to do if her mum gets poorly. So when she was in constant pain with severe stomach pains and kept fainting, April rang 999.

Caitlin, of Buxton, said: “I am so proud of April, she is my hero, and the way she rang for help showed such a level of maturity."


Perthes disease is a rare childhood condition that affects the hip. It occurs when the blood supply to the thighbone is disrupted and the bone cells die.

This causes Caitlin pain and simple tasks such as getting out of bed or walking prove a real challenge.

She became ill when something reacted badly with her medicine, and on Tuesday July 11 she was so poorly she kept collapsing.

April, who is a pupil at Fairfield Infant and Nursery School, took her mum’s phone and rang for an ambulance.

Caitlin said: “A huge thanks to whoever answered the phone to my little girl for taking her seriously.

“I’m not a well mum, I can’t do things like other mums, and being on our own I’m always conscious that something could happen to me and April will need to get help.

“She was so amazing and I can’t thank her, or the ambulance staff, enough for their good work.”


Caitlin was treated by paramedics but did not need to be taken to hospital.

Alison Crowe, from the 999 control room at East Midlands Ambulance Service, said: “April acted very calmly in what must have been a frightening situation.

“By calling 999 and answering our questions, she made sure we were able to get help to her mum as quickly as possible.”

• As the summer holidays begin, East Midlands Ambulance Service is asking parents to make sure they take five minutes to sit down with their children and explain when to call 999, especially if an adult is not awake or responding.

It is important that children know their address and postcode so that if they need to call 999, EMAS can get an ambulance to them as quickly as possible.

Alison added: “Teaching your child the right reason to call 999 could save your life.”

An activity book is available here.