Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies Joe Ruiz and J.C. Garcia were patrolling the county fair Thursday night when someone ran up to them screaming that a baby was choking nearby.
“We rushed over there, the mom was trying to revive the baby. Once I turned it over I noticed it was blue in color,” Ruiz said.
They began to do CPR, which is very different on an infant than a grown person.
“It’s a lot more delicate. The compressions are completely different from an adult to a baby,” Garcia said.
When CPR didn’t work Deputy Ruiz said he needed to think out of the box. He laid the baby down on his side and stuck his finger down the baby’s throat to try to stimulate his gag reflex. The baby was never choking on anything, but had a pre-existing condition that contributed to the episode.
“Thirty seconds later he bit down on my finger and looked straight at me and began breathing,” Ruiz recalled.
“It was a relief. Joe said he’s biting me and that kind of eased everybody that he’s responding,” Garcia said.
Paramedics arrived on scene and rushed the baby to JFK Memorial Hospital for observation.
Ruiz and Garcia say the experience highlights the importance of learning CPR and first aid, because for infants time is even more crucial.
“For a baby they have a shorter amount of time they can be without oxygen,” Garcia said.
“Try to stick to the basics of checking their airway and see if anything is blocking their throat and it wouldn’t hurt to take a CPR class and be prepared,” Ruiz said.
The baby is out of the hospital and doing well, according to his family who were in town from Washington State.
For information on local CPR classes, follow this link: http://www.redcross.org/courses/index.jsp?_requestid=436774