Mom Collapses - Son Alerts Ambulance!
Jailyn Emmett, of Saratoga Springs, Utah, had just gotten off the phone with her husband, Tyson -- stationed hundreds of miles away at Army Reserve basic training -- when she felt her heart racing. The mom, who was at home with her two kids, Tregan, then 5, and Lincoln, then 15 months, suffers from supraventricular tachycardia, a heart-rhythm disorder. "I couldn't control it, which I had been able to do in the past with a deep-breathing technique," she says. Sensing she was having a severe episode, Emmett, who was six months pregnant, called her parents, who live nearby. No one answered, so she dialed 911. That's the last thing she remembers.
When she awoke in an ambulance en route to the hospital, the paramedics explained what had happened: After she collapsed on her bedroom floor, Tregan took the phone from her and calmly told the emergency operator, "My mom just died." As the dispatcher spoke with Tregan -- who identified himself as "Spider-Man" and "Peter Parker" rather than giving her his real name -- she sent emergency personnel to the Emmett residence. But since the family had recently moved to a new subdivision, the screen displayed the wrong address, and the ambulance went to a different home just a few doors down.
Fortunately, Tregan stayed on the line. At the dispatcher's urging, he opened their front door and flashed the outside lights until paramedics finally found the right house. During the confusion, Lincoln toddled outside unsupervised. Noticing that he was missing, Tregan informed a policeman who had arrived on the scene. After a brief search, the officer found the toddler in a neighbor's backyard, playing with a puppy.
EMT personnel were amazed by the poise Tregan showed throughout the ordeal. Still, he admits, "It was scary to find my mom like that." Emmett noticed that Tregan was unusually clingy when she got home from the hospital. So she took both her boys and moved in with her parents until her third child, a boy she named McCade, was born. Soon after, she had surgery to resolve her arrhythmia. Today she's healthy, and she still calls Tregan her "little superhero."
Life-Saving Tip: Practice dialing 911. Once your child is 4 or 5, define what an emergency is, so he knows not to phone the numbers as a game. Then try role-playing: "Mom hit her head and won't wake up. What should you do?" Have him press the numbers on a toy phone, then rehearse a call. Teach him to answer the operator's questions and not hang up until she says to. Then post the number in an easy-to-see area by the phone.
Originally published in the August 2010 issue of Parents magazine.