Just a few short months ago on a normal September day, eight-year-old Tyler Booth was playing next door with a friend, kicking a ball around, like any regular kid.

He doesn't remember what happened next, but it will be etched into the minds of his family for ever.

Despite many messages about road safety from his parents, Tyler ended up running onto the road and was struck by a car, resulting in a life-threatening brain injury.

Stabilised at the scene by paramedics, he was put into an induced coma before being airlifted to Wellington hospital, where he was rushed into intensive care.


With his skull so badly fractured it was in two pieces, 110 staples were required to fix it back together, and two long months of recovery and rehabilitation began, firstly in Wellington, then in Auckland's Starship Hospital.

However, Tyler's resilience, the expertise of medical professionals and the unwavering support of his parents Dylan Booth and Chloe Macleod, along with other family members, means he has made a gruelling recovery.

Back in his sunny Levin home, Tyler's room is decorated with Phoenix Football Club memorabilia, as well as strategically-placed foam pool noodles taped to the underneath edge of his bunk bed to avoid any head bumps.

He has been going to school again, although only for an hour a day with one of his parents in the classroom with him, as he tires very quickly. However, Tyler is achieving again at the same level he was prior to the accident, and is now retaining new information.

He is bright and bubbly, with a cheeky smile, and it is a special day for his family - parked outside the family's home is a large St John's ambulance, but this time it is there for a much happier reason.

Three of the paramedics who cared for Tyler that fateful day are now sitting in his lounge, laughing and joking with the little boy whose life hung in the balance the last time they saw him.

Kurt Lendrum, Nicky Scott and Brendon Martin are three of the four ambulance officers who treated Tyler at the scene of his accident.

Kurt says he remembers seeing immediately how seriously Tyler was hurt then, and that he is very happy to see him looking so well now.


"You were pretty sick buddy," he says to Tyler.

Often, first responders won't see the patient they cared for again after they are whisked off to hospital.

"You don't often get the opportunity to follow up with critically unwell patients," he said.
"To see him make such a good recovery is great."

Dealing with the emotion of a situation, especially one involving a young child such as Tyler, is challenging for all paramedics, and Kurt, Nicky and Brendon all agree that practicality has to take over in the moment.

"He was just being a normal kid," Nicky says of the day Tyler was hurt.
"You can't carry [the emotion], you have to put it to one side."

Tyler's parents are effusive in their thanks for the care Tyler received.
"It's overwhelming in a good way," says his mum Chloe. "We're so lucky. It feels like a kind of closure [to see the ambulance officers again.]"

Tyler's dad Dylan agrees.
"It's amazing what they do," he says.

Dylan says that alongside Tyler's ongoing recovery, the family wants to focus on road safety for children, which involves getting drivers to slow down on residential streets as well as teaching kids how to be safe around roads.

The family live on Levin's York Street, which residents say has more than its share of speeding.

"People come down here at ridiculous speeds," Dylan says. "We approached [Horowhenua District] Council but we haven't heard anything back yet."

Tyler is alive because the car that struck him was only going around 35kmh, as the driver had seen another child near the roadside and slowed down. Tyler's parents say they hold her in no way responsible for what happened, as Tyler ran out unseen from behind a parked car. They say they understand the effect on her would also have been traumatic.

"Thank God she was only going slow," Dylan says. "The outcome could have easily gone the other way."

Tyler is asked how he feels about seeing the paramedics who helped save his life, and expresses himself like any other eight year old, more than his parents could have dared hope for just three short months ago.

"Wow!" he shouts happily, bouncing up and down on the couch, beaming.

And with Christmas just around the corner, which the family plans to spend camping, the future is looking brighter for the boy whose life so recently hung in the balance.