A simple course saved a baby's life....

February 15, 2017

My sister-in-law saved a baby's life last week.

This is her story so I can only share it in an abbreviated sense. Bee, my sister-in-law (who lives in Portland, Oregon), was strolling in the rain with her 3 year old daughter and wearing her 3 month old in a carrier yesterday when she heard a woman screaming. She ran to the woman, who was shaking an unresponsive, blue baby that was around the same age as Bee's baby, while two toddlers in a double stroller were sobbing next to her. Bee frantically asked her what was wrong but the woman could only speak in broken English. Bee bent down to get eye level with one of the children in the stroller, and held his face to get eye contact and asked him what happened. He told her the baby was choking.

My sister-in-law tried to grab the baby, the woman would not hand over the baby- perhaps she was just shell-shocked, but she continued to shake the baby. Bee ignored her resistance and grabbed the baby from her, placing the baby downward over her forearm and quickly performed the Heimlich maneuver. The baby coughed out a small red dice, and within seconds started breathing normally and was screaming.

Bee, who at this point was sobbing along with her children, the other children, and the woman watching the children, told the woman to call 911. When the paramedics arrived they told her that they wouldn't have made it in time and she saved this baby's life.

Bee's story made me proud of her of course- I hope the family is aware of how lucky they are and that they need to ask themselves some questions regarding the training of their caregiver. This is a parent’s worst nightmare.  

Bee’s incident also brought up the subject of the importance of knowing CPR/Heimlich maneuver. When my son was a baby, both my husband and I took a course, and I had a refresher at work few years ago, yet I wouldn’t say I am an expert and could stand to take a course soon.  

How to be CPR/ Hemlich ready*

  • Take a course, if you have an infant make sure it is a class that also covers infants.

          For local resources for CPR classes contact these resources:

                                       Carriage House Birth

                                       Wild Was Mama

                                       Birthday Presence


Bee contributes a CPR class she took from Laurie Torres, EMT-B a Basic Life Support (BLS) for Health Care Provider, CPR and First Aid Instructor for American Heart Association and owner of Baby Be Safe. Bee took this course at Wild Was Mama. I personally like this resource for having many types of CPR classes being offered. 

For classes in all states try the Red Cross

  • When interviewing a nanny or sitter ask if they know CPR, if they can show proof this is an extra.
  • If you or your sitter needs a course, take one sooner then later, offer to pay, book the course if this sitter is someone you will have long term.
  •   A good video that we use as a reference on how to save a baby that is choking.
  • This is an infographic that we have used as a reference and can be printed as a reminder, place in your cupboard or the area where you have emergency numbers.

Posted by Donna

*All views in this post are my own. Please check with an expert or pediatrician when educating you and your family on Infant CPR.



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