Dad saves baby daughter with CPR – would you know what to do in an emergency?
Baby Ella’s quick-thinking dad saved her life with CPR.
Ella Zirps was blue in the face and lifeless when her dad scooped her out of the backyard pool at the family home in southern Sydney.
“I’m patting her back and looking for consciousness, at her eyes, and she was gone,” Michael Zirps told The Daily Telegraph yesterday, recalling the moment a nightmare scenario for any parent became terrifyingly real for him.
One-year-old Ella had slipped from the side of the pool into the water with barely a sound or a splash while Mr Zirps was distracted by one of his two other daughters, Keira, 3, as they all played together on Thursday.
For the vast majority of Sydney families, what happened next would have meant disaster.
But Mr Zirps, a longtime surf club member, is one of less than 10 per cent of Australians who know how to perform CPR.
He grabbed Ella out of the water and handed her to his brother-in-law, Joel Chapman, who also knows the resuscitation technique that alternately massages the heart and fills the lungs of a lifeless person.
“He went straight into one full breath,” Mr Zirps said. “He was worried he’d cracked her ribs, he said he was going hard at her. I said ‘you’ve got to mate, she was gone’.”
Working together, the two men alternated between blowing breaths into the little girl’s mouth and compressing her chest.
“I was thinking ‘how do I explain this to my wife if we lose her?’,” Mr Zirps said.
After two-and-a-half minutes, Ella burst back to life. “I gave her a really good breath — and I reckon about a litre of water came out of her,” Mr Zirps said.
Words could not describe the feeling of relief.
“It’s a good sign when she’s smiling and, you know, laughing at you.”
It was, in some respects, the ideal resuscitation — Ella’s airways were already clear when paramedics arrived, meaning they did not have to intubate her.
And by getting her breathing started within a few minutes they restored the flow of oxygen to Ella’s organs in time to avoid brain damage or other long-term health problems.
Within 24 hours, Ella was out of St George Hospital and home with mother Tameeka and the family.
“She is an extremely lucky little girl,” said Tom Clark, a senior first aid trainer for the Australian Red Cross. “There are not many people trained in CPR and this could have so easily gone the other way.”
Experts estimate the number of Australians with training in CPR is around five per cent — but a child who receives during an emergency it is four times more likely to survive.
Mr Zirps said he was furious at himself for taking his eyes off his little girl for even for a second.
“My three-year-old goes ‘daddy, no me!’ and she swam across to me,” he said, explaining how his attention was split. It was Ayla, four, who first noticed her sister in the pool.
“My four-year-old said ‘hey I don’t think Ella’s too well’,” he said. “Drowning is silent.”
He pleaded for every parent to learn CPR.
“I was angry at myself, then in shock for about eight hours,” he said.
“(Paramedics said) without you and Joel resuscitating her, she wouldn’t be here.
“Everyone, do first aid and CPR and never stop teaching your kids how to swim.”
Just five per cent of Australia’s population have had any CPR training — but a child who receives it is four times more likely to survive.
Mr Clark said that in an emergency trying to carry out CPR is better than doing nothing.
“In this situation, even if you are not trained you should have a go — you could save a life.
“Better still, do a first aid course — it gives you that confidence.”
CPR courses are run at Nepean Aquatic Centre every month by Royal Life Saving qualified trainers.
Story Credit – Daily Telegraph