Red Cross honors 3-year-old for making life-saving 911 call

March 17, 1993|By Holly Selby | Holly Selby,Staff Writer

When accidents happen and there's no adult able to help, 3-year-old Roger Stanley Jr. knows exactly what to do: Dial 911.

And he knows when to do it. So on a chilly morning in January, when his father was at work and his diabetic mother passed out and fell down a flight of stairs, the preschooler put out the call for help.

For that kind of quick thinking, Roger yesterday received an award -- a bank in the shape of a 1918 Red Cross vehicle -- from the Central Maryland Chapter of the American Red Cross.

"This is the first time we've recognized a 3-year-old," said Joan Panke, the chapter's director of health services. "We think it's remarkable that a 3-year-old would remember what to do and know how to take action."

Roger was also chosen for the award because his actions are in tune with recommended changes in Red Cross emergency training published late last year by the Emergency Cardiac Care Committee in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

According to the recommendations, if alone with an unconscious adult -- an adult who doesn't respond when asked "are you all right?" -- a person should immediately call 911 and proceed with CPR, if necessary, said Ms. Panke. In adults, often respiration and pulse have stopped because of heart disease, and subsequently, the adult will need emergency medical support, she said. The Central Maryland Chapter will incorporate the recommendations into its classes for the first time at a Community First Aid and Safety Course March 27.

The Stanleys have taught both their sons, Roger and 7-year-old Charles, to dial 911 when an emergency occurs, said Roger Stanley Sr., a Northeast Baltimore machine mechanic. "I sometimes fake it like I fell down or something and he knows what to do," he said of Roger, who attends Head Start five days a week.

"If his mother's home, he goes and gets her, if she's not, then he knows to call 911."

And Roger's mother, Charlotta, taught the 3-year-old to recognize numbers on the telephone. "I would show him on the touch tone and I would take his finger and let him push 911. 'If anything happens,' I said, 'if I fall or I'm not there, if anything happens that looks important, call 911'," she said.

In January, Mr. and Mrs. Stanley's efforts paid off. Mrs. Stanley, a nurse's assistant, woke up feeling ill. Because she is a diabetic, she says, she needs to be careful about eating even when sick. This time, though, on her way down the stairs, she felt weak and then fell. "I tried to crawl over to get the phone and before I could reach the phone I had passed out and my 3-year-old called 911 and told them everything. When the paramedics came, he opened the door."

But Roger wasn't scared. In fact, the boy says, he just did "what Mommy told me."

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