My son's terrifying story is an important lesson to all parents – you never think it'll happen to you | The Sun

A MUM has revealed her horror after her five-year-old son crashed his bike and spent nine days in a coma.

Nikki Barnes, 28, from Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, is urging parents to make their kids wear cycle helmets after her son Marli suffered two skull fractures and a broken shoulder.

He had been playing yards from his home when he jumped on a friend's "rust bucket" bike and rode down a steep hill on September 3.

But he went steaming into a 4ft high garden wall at the bottom before being flung head-first into the side of a house because the bicycle had no breaks.

Nikki, a full-time mum, said she was terrified when she found her unconscious son receiving CPR from neighbours minutes later, before an air ambulance arrived on the scene.

Hospital doctors later told her and Marli's dad, Dean Collinson, 32, to “prepare for the worst” — as they feared he might not wake up from his induced coma.

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Thankfully, Marli gained consciousness nine days later and Nikki said she still couldn't believe he was now on the road to a full recovery at home.

She said: "I even sit looking at him now thinking, 'I can't believe you are still here'.

"I'll stand and cry, and he'll say, 'Mummy, why are you crying?' It's just a feeling you can't explain when you think your five-year-old is going to die.

"You never think as a parent it's going to happen to your child. You think my child is going to be fine until you experience something like this in life.

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"The helmets might not look cool, the way kids think, but if Marli had a helmet on, he might have only come away with a broken shoulder."

Some 85 cyclists were killed on British roads in 2022, according to the Department for Transport.

The figure was down 15 per cent on the 100 recorded in 2019, with roads generally becoming safer for cyclists over time.

However, deaths in accidents peaked in 2020, when some 141 cyclists died, including 15 aged five to seven.

Around 45,620 cyclists were seriously injured from 2012 to 2021.

Cycle helmets are not mandatory in the UK but the Highway Code suggests that they should be worn.

'An 80-year-old man was giving him CPR'

On the day of the accident, Nikki said she had told Marli to remain near his home as she prepared his dinner.

But he'd decided to walk to the top of his street, which sits on a very steep hill, and ride his friend's bike to the bottom at speed.

Nikki said: "Not even five minutes after having that conversation with Marli, I had two men walking down the garden path, and I thought 'Oh gosh, what's he done now?'

"They just told me that my son was unconscious, passed out in somebody's garden. I literally just ran. I didn't even wait to know where he was.

"When I got there, there was an elderly couple, and an 80-year-old man was lying on the floor with Marli giving him CPR.

"I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was so surreal. The bike was way too big for Marli. It had no breaks. It was a rust bucket basically."

She added: "The couple said Marli had hit their home so hard that they thought something had fallen over upstairs."

Nikki said three ambulances had arrived five minutes later, with paramedics cutting away Marli's clothes and giving him oxygen as he had a series of seizures.

An air ambulance later whisked him to Leeds General Infirmary, where he was diagnosed with base and frontal skull fractures – as well as a broken shoulder.

Doctors later gave Nikki the grave news that he might not survive his terrifying ordeal.

Nikki said: "They then told me the injuries that Marli had got and said, 'The best thing to do is prepare yourself because we can't tell you the outcome'.

"He's got a breathing machine, and we don't know if he's ever going to be breath on his own again.'"

'He bounced back'

Nikki said she remained by Marli's bedside, barely eating or sleeping, for the next eight days as he was kept on strong sedative medicines, including fentanyl.

And when Marli finally awoke on the ninth day in the intensive care ward, she said everyone around her was reduced to tears as he called out her name.

Nikki said: "The first thing Marli said coming around – he shouted 'mum' three times. We all just cried. It was just so surreal that he actually spoke.

"We were only in hospital two days after he woke up. He literally bounced back. He was walking after he woke up."

Nikki said Marli is now on the mend at home, and alongside encouraging kids to wear helmets, she said they shouldn't swap bikes as well.

She added: "I got told that if Marli was on his own bike, a bike that Marli knew, and it was his size and it worked, he might have been able to stop at the bottom of the hill.



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Nikki has since been raising money for Marli on GoFundMe in the hopes that she can take him to Disneyland after he fully recovers.

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