TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A newly hired TSA agent is being hailed a hero after she jumped over a baggage check to save the life of an infant who stopped breathing at Newark Liberty International Airport.
Transportation Security Administration officer Cecilia Morales knew something was wrong when she heard people screaming for help, according to a press release from the TSA. She knew if she didn’t act quickly, the outcome could have been different.
The TSA said a young mother shouted for help after she picked up her two-month-old son from his car seat and realized he wasn’t breathing.
Morales, who served as an emergency medical technician (EMT) for 10 years, shouted instructions to the mother but said, “she was so nervous and I knew if I didn’t get over there, it wasn’t going to be a good outcome.”
Morales added she “jumped over the checkpoint conveyor belt rollers and she gave me the baby. I performed the infant Heimlich maneuver on him.”
The infant was placed face down on Morales’ arm and patted on the back. When the infant gave no response, she tried again.
The second time he started to breathe.
“The mother was too nervous and in shock to hold her son, so I carried the infant through the walk through metal detector,” Morales said. The two waited for the pediatric EMT to arrive, who give the baby oxygen.
The TSA said Morales joined the agency in late October. She reportedly performed the Heimlich on adults and children as an EMT, but this was the first incident when she had to perform the life-saving technique on an infant.
“Two months on the job and she’s literally a life-saver,” said Thomas Carter, TSA’s Federal Security Director for New Jersey. “Officer Morales’s quick reaction and actions helped ensure that this family will have a happy holiday season. Her actions were inspiring.”
After the incident, Morales saw the video of her life-saving actions.
“It was the first time I’ve ever seen myself in action, saving a life,” she said. “It was mind-blowing to watch. I felt that my training and experience just took over.”
“If Officer Morales did not utilize her critical thinking, knowledge and quick response, perhaps we could have had a terrible outcome,” said TSA Manager Ayrana Frazier. “In the moment Officer Morales was selfless, and her priority was to save a life. We are proud to call her one of our own.”