Toddler saved by sister on family farm

6 November 2020

In November last year, eight-year-old Caitlyn Spong and her family were enjoying a birthday celebration at their farm in Moora. Being a hot day, the family were swimming at a watering hole on the property when Caitlyn’s two-year-old brother Stanley leant out over the water to retrieve a floating container and fell in.

Stanley was unable to swim and his head went under water, the adults immediately scrambling to get to him. Before they could reach him, however, Caitlyn had jumped into the water herself and pulled him to safety. He was shaken, but otherwise unhurt. 

“Caitlyn could see that her brother’s head had already gone under the water and knew she was better placed than anyone to be able to rescue him,” said their mother, Emma. “The body of water is not massive, but it is deep in that part. [Caitlyn] cannot stand in the water where he was herself – so for me, by far the most awesome aspect of it was that she had the presence of mind to go about it in a way that did not unduly endanger herself, nor make his predicament worse.”

“I wasn’t surprised that she would instinctively want to help her brother, but I was pleasantly surprised in the considered way she went about it. Having a great desire to save someone is of no use if you can’t combine it with a safe, effective plan in the few seconds of thought you have once a situation presents itself.”

Caitlyn Spong and family“As a family, we spend a lot of time being fairly removed from medical assistance. Over the years I guess Caitlyn has become quite accustomed to people around her being first responders in a wide variety of scenarios. She does also seem to have a genuine interest in first aid.”

Caitlyn didn’t hesitate to help her brother and displayed incredible composure and quick thinking for a child of her age, earning her a Royal Life Saving Bravery Commendation for her actions.

“I think the significance of her receiving this award has only recently sunk in for all of us,” Emma said. “Going forward now, this whole episode will reinforce a belief in herself to be able to make good decisions in pressure situations. And, you know, I reckon it’s pretty darn awesome to have found that within herself already!”

Do you know someone who has responded in an emergency to save a life? Nominate them for a Royal Life Saving Bravery Award at the link below.

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