(Photo of the family provided by Nanaimo RCMP)

An off duty Nanaimo RCMP officer is being credited for saving the life of a 17 month old child on Monday, after she pulled over onto the side of Highway 19 and began CPR on the infant.

At approximately 12:30 p.m. on Monday, August 30th, Constable Denise Laforest was driving along Highway 19 between Woss and Sayward on Vancouver Island when the incident took place.

Laforest was travelling to visit her husband in Alert Bay from Nanaimo with their two small children when her attention was diverted to a vehicle that pulled quickly to the side of the busy highway.

As Laforest was driving by the vehicle, a man jumped out of his car and he was holding a limp infant, Nanaimo RCMP said in a media release.

She noticed and immediately pulled a U-turn to help the man.

Laforest told the man she knew first aid and the father, Sam, consented to her administering first aid to the child.

While Sam called 911, Laforest conducted a quick assessment, checked for injuries or blockages, and managed to find a very weak pulse. She immediately started doing back blows in hopes that whatever the child was choking on would dislodge.

The child did not immediately respond and soon a pulse could no longer be found. At this point, Laforest said she realized the child could die.

Laforest began CPR, switching between mouth resuscitation and finger compressions on the baby’s chest.

After several minutes, the baby, Hanna, began to make a small wheezing sound. Laforest managed to clear a small amount of debris from her mouth and shortly thereafter, Hanna began to cry.

“Collectively, it was the most beautiful sound we had ever heard,” said Laforest.

The toddlers mom, Amanda, cried out, “You saved my babies life” to the off-duty mountie.

Many heartfelt hugs and tears ensued, but due to the remote nature and lack of cell phone service, Sam was unable to reach emergency crews, so Hanna, Sam, and Laforest drove into Woss and found a first aid clinic to have the baby assessed, until 7:30 p.m. that night when she was discharged.

Laforest commented that she was fortunate to have recently completed a refresher course for emergency first aid.

“If it wasn’t for that [the refresher course], my training may not have kicked in and we could have been looking at a very different outcome,” said Laforest.

The family—Amanda, Sam, Hanna and their other daughter Quinn—recently came to Vancouver Island from Terrace.

RCMP said the first thing they plan to do when they get home is to enrol in an emergency first-aid course.

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