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Danbury Boy, 9, Hailed As Hero For Helping To Save Baby Sister On 911 Call

James Gagliardo, communications coordinator for the Danbury Fire Department, describes the life-saving effort by a mother, 9-year-old brother and emergency dispatcher to save a choking baby. Photo Credit: Karen Tensa
911 call courtesy of the Danbury Fire Department
911 call courtesy of the Danbury Fire Department Video Credit: Daily Voice Northern Fairfield County
Engine 22 of the Danbury Fire Department responded to the call. Photo Credit: Karen Tensa
Engine 22 of the Danbury Fire Department responded to the call. Photo Credit: Karen Tensa

DANBURY, Conn. — A 9-year-old in Danbury was hailed as a hero after he worked with a 911 emergency dispatcher to help save the life of his 1-month-old baby sister.

The unidentified boy kept calm and relayed life-saving instructions to his mother. She provided the hands-on care to the premature baby, who had choked on vomit.

His work was so professional that the Danbury Fire Department pointed to it as a perfect example of how to handle an emergency. (The 911 call was released Tuesday. Click above to listen.)

“It was amazing. Hopefully, in a couple of years he wants to be a dispatcher,” said James Gagliardo, a spokesman for the Danbury Fire Department. “He kept a really good composure. He was able to help us, he was very confident and comfortable throughout the whole phone call and he really made a big difference."

Engine 22 and Danbury EMS responded to the incident at about 1:10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11.

The mother had found the baby was not breathing, and panicked and began to yell for help. "That's when the 9-year-old told his mother not to panic and that he knew what to do," Gagliardo said. The boy picked up a phone and dialed 911. The 911 call was handled by Ashley Romano.

“She isn't breathing,” the brother told Romano. "And she isn't making any noises."

Romano then gave the boy instructions: place the baby flat on the floor, kneel next to her and check her mouth to see whether anything was blocking her airway.

“Place your hand on the baby’s forehead, your other hand under the baby’s neck and shoulders, and slightly tilt the head back,” Romano said. “Put your ear next to her mouth, OK?”

“Could you please repeat that?” the boy calmly said. She gave the instructions again, which the mother followed.

“I hear her sort of moaning,” the boy said. "Yes, she’s breathing."

Romano stayed on the line until the first responders arrived. And when the did arrive, the baby was already conscious and breathing, thanks to the brother, mother and Romano.

Gagliardo said kids are helpful "more often than you might think" on 911 calls. He credits the lessons they learn from parents, in school and on visits to the fire department to know what to do in an emergency.

Kids should know to call 911 in an emergency and be prepared to give their address and a description of what is happening, Gagliardo said. As in this case, kids often relay life-saving instructions to adults at the scene, he said.

"Thanks to the quick-thinking of a 9-year-old boy, and the expertise of our dispatcher, a young life was saved," the fire department said.

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