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TSA officer jumps over conveyor belt to save life of choking baby at Newark Liberty International Airport

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TSA officer jumps over conveyor belt to save life of choking baby at Newark Liberty International Airport

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NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) – A newly hired TSA officer with 10 years of EMT experience saved the life of a choking infant at Newark Liberty International Airport.

TSA agent Cecilia Morales heard people screaming for help and knew she had to act quickly.

As a mother lifted her 2 month old son from his car seat to bring him to safety, she realized her baby was not breathing.

Those traveling with her couldn’t help her, and she cried out for help.

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Morales, a trained emergency medical technician (EMT) with 10 years of experience serving several towns in northern New Jersey, shouted instructions at the mother.

“But she was so nervous, and I knew if I didn’t go there it wouldn’t be a good result,” she said. “I jumped over the checkpoint treadmill rollers and she gave me the baby. I performed the Baby Heimlich maneuver on him.”

She held the child carefully to keep his airways open, then placed him face down on the floor on her arm and patted him on the back.

She received no response, so she tried again. The second time he started to breathe again.

“The mother was too nervous and in shock to hold her son, so I carried the baby through the metal detector,” she said.

There, they waited for the pediatric ambulance to arrive to give the baby oxygen soon after.

Morales, a Newark resident who joined TSA in late October, had previously performed Heimlich on adults and children as an EMT, but this was the first time she had applied the rescue technique to an infant.

“Two months of work and she’s literally a lifeline,” said Thomas Carter, TSA’s federal director of security for New Jersey. “The quick reaction and actions of Agent Morales have helped ensure this family has a happy holiday season. His actions have been inspiring.”

Morales said seeing the incident replayed was a new experience.

“I saw the video afterwards,” she said. “It was the first time I saw myself in action, saving a life. It was mind-blowing to watch. I felt my training and experience was taking over.”

TSA officials praised his reaction.

“If Officer Morales had not used his critical thinking, knowledge and quick response, perhaps we could have had a terrible result,” said Ayrana Frazier, director of the TSA. “At the moment, Officer Morales was selfless and his priority was saving a life. We are proud to call her one of our own.”

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