The Children’s Wales Air Ambulance (CWAA) is a part of the Wales Air Ambulance service
Wales Air Ambulance is the only air ambulance service dedicated to
serving people in Wales. We are on standby every single day of the year,
ready to help anyone in Wales during their most difficult hour. An
important part of our job is to run the Children’s Wales Air Ambulance.
This is a specialist division of the charity because our youngest
patients need a different range of treatments.
We recently introduced in partnership with NHS Wales state-of-the-art
incubators on our fourth aircraft, transforming our helicopters into
mini hospitals for vulnerable babies. This means we can bring specialist
treatments to our youngest patients, wherever they are in Wales.
The Children’s Wales Air Ambulance is an integral part of the
charity, responding to both emergency incidents and inter-hospital
transfers for children in Wales. Patients range from premature babies
just a few hours old, to seriously ill teenagers needing urgent help.
Pictured (above): Paediatric emergency medicine consultant Dr Pete
Williams is pictured with our Babypod incubator, used to keep newborn
infants warm in flight on 999 missions.
On average, Wales Air Ambulance airlifts 300 children a year. Most
children in Wales are treated in Wales, many at the Children’s Hospital
for Wales in Cardiff; but we also convey patients to hospitals across
the UK such as Alder Hey in Liverpool, Great Ormond Street in London and
the Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Every single patient is different,
and Wales Air Ambulance will take each child to the specialist unit that
is needed for their illness or injury.
Consultants and Critical Care Practitioners (CCPs) on board Wales Air
Ambulance provide highly advanced treatments and work in partnership
with NHS teams across Wales to care for children and babies who need
urgent medical care.
Pictured (above): Hospital neonatal teams join the Children’s Wales Air Ambulance to fly a premature baby from North Wales to South Wales, saving hours by road.
In 2010 little Elain from Aberystwyth was just 12 weeks old when she
needed an urgent transfer from Bronglais Hospital to the UHW Cardiff,
over 100 miles away.
Elain was diagnosed antenatally with a congenital heart condition
and, taking a sudden turn for the worse, she was flown by Wales Air
Ambulance to Cardiff for emergency treatment.
After undergoing heart surgery, Elain spent five months in hospital
and was diagnosed with a pulmonary atresia caused by a rare genetic
condition, 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome.
Elain’s parents, Bridget and Gareth, have since raised thousands of
pounds for the services that have helped her along the way, including
funds for video laryngoscopes for Wales Air Ambulance. This piece of kit
helps crews clear blocked airways using a camera, and has a special
attachment for children’s airways.
Five-year-old Will fell almost 20 feet through a farm shed roof at
his family home in Tan y Bryn near Abersoch, hitting his head on a
concrete floor. The Wales Air Ambulance crew were at the scene to treat
Will and took him and his mother Rhian to his nearest hospital in Bangor
within 13 minutes, a journey that would usually take an hour by road.
Will’s mother Rhian said: “The paramedic, Ian, spoke to Will in
Welsh, his first language, and reassured him. They also let me fly in
the helicopter with him which I’m so thankful for, as that would have
been the most horrendous drive of my life. But instead it took just 13
minutes to get him to the hospital and I was by his side for the whole
Fortunately, Will only suffered from bruising and a few scratches – a fact which amazed the family and crew.
Rhian added, “We are so thankful for everything the crew and the
doctors did that day; they really are superheroes to Will. He talks
about Ian and John all the time – I think he thinks they’re best
Seven month-old Anouk was airlifted by Wales Air Ambulance after
falling and hitting her head near her home in Conwy. Mum Sioux called
999 and, due to Anouk’s young age and nature of the injury, the control
room dispatched the air ambulance.
Anouk, Sioux and cuddly toy Tiger were airlifted to Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor, where Anouk made a full recovery.
Since the accident in 2011, Anouk has started school and is now 5
years old. She has a younger brother, Max, and plans to be a vet when
she grows up.
Keep us in the air for children in Wales.
Adam was 18 months old when, during a family trip in Carmarthenshire, he needed to get to hospital fast.
Dad Iain recounts that day back in 2010: “We were visiting family
just north of Carmarthen. During the day Adam developed a rash and began
vomiting. The next thing we knew, he had gone blue and floppy. He gave
us a real fright.
“It would have taken at least 35 minutes to get Adam to hospital by
road from where we were, but Wales Air Ambulance was able to get him
there in just 4 minutes.”
Thanks to public support, Wales Air Ambulance had just upgraded its
aircraft to a ‘new generation’ model, which meant there was a spare seat
for mum Clare to accompany poorly Adam.
Iain added: “It was such a relief that Clare could fly with Adam, and
that Wales Air Ambulance was there for us that day. It brings it home
to you how important the air ambulance is.”