2-year-old girl's quick thinking might have saved her mom's life

Photo: WREG Memphis
Photo: WREG Memphis

A woman in Tennessee is crediting her 2-year-old daughter with saving her life after a health scare.

Melissa Leach told Memphis news station WREG3 that her daughter, Emma Grace, sometimes sleeps in her room and, on those nights, Leach’s fiancé will sleep in Emma’s room. Two weeks ago, Emma slept in Leach’s room and acted quickly when her mom became sick.

Leach says she had been fighting off what she thought was a sinus infection and asthma symptoms at the time, and she woke up at 3 a.m. “coughing really bad.” Leach went to the bathroom to clear her throat and, when she turned to leave the bathroom, she passed out.

“I remember little bits and pieces,” Leach says. “I remember [Emma] jumping on my back kind of like you would ride a horsey, and I remember her saying, ‘Wake up, Mommy, wake up, Mommy.’” After that, Leach says she passed out again.

Her fiancé later told her that Emma ran into the room where he was sleeping and woke him up to tell him that something was wrong. So he called 911.

Leach was taken in an ambulance to a nearby hospital, where she stayed for four days. Doctors diagnosed her with pneumonia, severe bronchitis, and asthma. Leach was also told that swollen airways were cutting off her breathing, and that she could have died if Emma hadn’t intervened.

“God knew for whatever reason that he needed to wake [Emma] up,” said Leach, pointing out that her fiancé likely would have slept through the whole thing if he was sleeping in their room as usual.

Emma isn’t the only child to act quickly in an emergency. In 2017, a 4-year-old in Cleveland called 911 and said her mommy “needs help” after her mother had been having trouble breathing and became unresponsive. Police and paramedics eventually found the home and got the mom to a doctor. In a phone recording obtained by Fox 8 Cleveland, an officer can be heard saying, “You did a good job. Good job, OK. Really good.”

In 2015, 11-year-old James Dukes helped his mother deliver his baby brother with coaching from a 911 dispatcher when the baby arrived sooner than expected. “My son was brave. He didn’t shake. He didn’t budge. I was like, ‘Oh, my God! Somebody help me.’ He did a wonderful job, and I’m proud of him,” his mom, Kenyarda, told Atlanta’s AJC.com.

It’s important to talk to kids as early as the toddler years about how to get help if Mommy or Daddy is hurt or in trouble, Danelle Fisher, MD, chair of pediatrics at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., tells Yahoo Lifestyle. You can talk them through finding another adult and show them how to dial 911 on the phone, she says. (Just make sure you leave your phone unlocked, or teach them how to unlock it.) And, given that kids tend to forget information pretty quickly, it’s a good idea to review this every three to six months, Fisher adds.

As for Leach, she says she’s “still in shock” over her health scare and her daughter’s quick thinking — and that she can’t wait to retell the story to Emma when she’s older.

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