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How To Give A Baby CPR: ‘911 Crisis Center’ Dispatcher Guides Family Through Delicate, Life-Saving Moves

The calls are real and so are the life-and-death crises in Oxygen’s "911 Crisis Center," airing Saturdays at 9/8c on Oxygen.

911 Dispatch Trainer Walks Through Tips On How To Give CPR
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The urgent phone call comes at just after 2 in the morning from a panic-stricken girl saying that she needs help — now! — for her baby sister who’s having trouble breathing. And foaming at the mouth. And turning red.

How do you help? For the staff at Chagrin Valley Dispatch, a communications center covering the greater Cleveland area, that’s in the job description. Oxygen’s bracing new series, “911 Crisis Center,” airing Saturdays at 9/8c, captures the staff in action — real calls, real life-and-death crises, real solutions, tears, and cheers.

Christine Mazzeo, a dispatcher with 12 years of experience, picked up the call about the baby in distress. She quickly established the infant was 2 weeks old, wasn’t crying, and was being held by her mother.

Her colleague dispatched medical help to the caller’s address as Mazzeo confirmed that the baby was breathing but the caller said the infant was having trouble getting air into her tiny lungs. 

After establishing that the baby had no known medical condition, Mazzeo determined she needed to give CPR instructions. 

“I can hear the mom in the background and she’s panicking,” Mazzeo told producers. “I’m a mom myself, but I can’t think about that when I’m focusing on giving CPR to someone else’s child. We have to push that to the back of our minds.”

Mazzeo told the caller to have the mother lay the baby flat on her back on the floor and then kneel beside her. She instructed the mom to place “two fingers on the baby’s chest in between her nipples. We’re going to push down one to one-and-a-half inches,” Mazzeo said. 

Infant CPR is a delicate process, Mazzeo told “911 Crisis Center.” “We use two fingers to get air and blood flowing,” she said. “We’re not using our whole palm, that could hurt the baby.” 

Mazzeo counted aloud from 1 to 30 as the mom gently pressed on the baby’s chest. When she reached 30, she monitored the baby’s progress. Because the baby was still struggling, she repeated the procedure with the mom. As they counted, officers arrived on the scene and took over the CPR. They reported to dispatch that the baby was conscious.

Mazzeo took stock after the call ended. “A young baby is susceptible to so many different things when we take the call and a baby’s not breathing. The baby could be choking. They could be having a seizure. All I have to focus on is getting that baby breathing again.” 

And she did. The 2-week-old baby resumed full breathing and made a full recovery, according to “911 Crisis Center.” 

During the shift Chagrin Valley dispatcher also handled high-stakes calls involving a lawnmower mishap, a domestic situation with shots fired, a residential fire, and a woman threatening to jump out a window.

To learn more about these situations, watch “911 Crisis Center,” airing Saturdays at 9/8c on Oxygen.

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