Boy survives red-bellied black snake bite

Paul Kadak
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Boy survives red-bellied black snake bite

Boy survives red-bellied black snake bite

A Sydney mum is urging families to keep a first aid kit handy, after saving her three-year-old son from a snake bite.

Zephaniah Tapara was playing in his backyard when he tried to pick up what's believed to have been a red-bellied black snake.

But with the help of nurses Zephaniah was a much happier boy today, and his mum Michelle was simply relieved.

He had been playing in the family's yard, in the semi-rural suburb of North Richmond, for only a few minutes.

His mother, Michelle Tapara, said her son ran in from outside, and was clenching his hand.

"He just came in saying 'mum a snake bit me', and i said, what?!"

"He said he tried to pick it up," Ms Tapara said.

Remembering her dad's advice, Michelle knew to get a compression bandage from the first aid kit.

Zephaniah was taken to Hawkesbury Hospital and then on to Westmead Children's Hospital.

"What happens with the snake bite [is] the venom goes around the system and then can cause all sorts of bleeding problems, heart problems, muscle problems and kidney problems," Dr Mary McCaskill said.

But Zephaniah's mum's first aid stopped the venom spreading.

Red-bellied black snake bites generally aren't fatal to adults, but they can make children very sick.

"He's very lucky, very lucky that it was this particular snake that he did as well as he did," Dr McCaskill said.

Each year in New South Wales there are around 300 snake bite cases, but they are rare among children; with only 14 emergency cases at Westmead in the last five years.

Michelle Tapara says she's grateful to the hospitals, and for the help from Triple-zero, but she's urging others to keep a first aid kit.

While Zephaniah is getting a refresher course in leaving things alone.