The 7-month-old was alarmingly still when the officer took the baby from the terrified mom. What the officer did next saved the choking child’s life and earned him the title of hero, officials in Dalton said Wednesday.
Officer Michael Houck was wrapping up his work at the scene of a minor crash in Dalton on Monday when a resident of a nearby neighborhood on Foster Street ran up to him and frantically began speaking to Houck, according to Dalton police. But the puzzled officer didn’t understand Spanish.
Then one of the drivers involved in the crash came forward and translated for the officer.
“'A baby was choking,'” the driver told him, according to police.
Houck and the driver ran with the neighbor to 1107 Foster St., about half a block away from the crash, police said. Houck arrived to find the child’s mother in the front yard with the baby in her arms, they said.
Without hesitation, the woman handed over the 7-month-old to Houck, who discovered that the child was not crying — or breathing, police said. Houck, like all the officers in his department, was trained and re-certified every other year in CPR and life-saving techniques, police said.
He turned the baby over and began to apply back thrusts until the baby coughed up a small piece of a carrot, police said.
The baby immediately began to cry and gasp for air, they said.
With the driver’s help, Houck spoke to the baby’s mother and was able to determine that the baby had pulled a sheet of jalapeno peppers over onto himself and the peppers irritated his skin and caused swelling, police said. Officer Houck and the baby’s mother were flushing the child’s skin with water when emergency medical personnel arrived, police said. The EMS crew examiner the child and determined that the baby was OK, police said.
They have not released the name of the mother or her child.