Singaporean mum: “My maid saved my baby’s life!”

Mother 'forever grateful' to maid who saved her toddler from an incident which took place at home while she was at work.

Singaporean single mum, Anjali choked back tears as she told the story of how she would have lost her 2 year-old son, if it weren’t for her maid.

Yes, we’ve all heard countless horror tales of maids in Singapore. But not all domestic helpers are as horrible or dangerous. Here’s a frightening yet touching story on how an Indonesian maid saved her employer’s baby from choking on a blueberry.

My maid saved my baby's life

Anjali was at work one Friday morning when she got an emergency call from her maid, Mina.

“Ma’am, please come home quick. Roshan choked on fruit. Come now!”

“Oh my God, keep hitting his back. Is he okay? Is the fruit out? Tell me exactly what’s happening!” Anjali kept asking as she darted out of her office.

“I drove home like a mad woman, all panicky and worried. I wanted to keep calling home but didn’t want to distract Mina from helping my son. Luckily I lived a mere 7 minutes from the office - because every minute would count in a situation like this!”

“When I got home, Mina was rubbing my baby’s back. His face was blue and his eyes teary. He looked so weak and didn’t make eye contact with me.”

Fear-stricken, Anjali kept talking to her son to see if he would respond, look at her or just act normal. She gave him her hand and he grasped it tight. He was okay. She carried him, kept rubbing his back and took him down to the doctor under her HDB block in Simei.

Choked on fruit

Mina told Anjali what had taken place at home. She was sweeping the floor in the hall, so she placed Roshan in his walker. A few minutes later, she heard an abnormal coughing sound from the kitchen. Running to check on Roshan, she saw him choking on something. There was an opened box of blueberries at the kitchen counter. Though it was placed at a safe height that Roshan couldn’t reach, he must have hit the walker hard into the counter table and the box fell, and the blueberries spilled out. Roshan had taken one of fruit and put it into his mouth.

Mina shared, "Within seconds, he couldn’t breathe. The blueberry sliding down his throat got stuck in his windpipe.”

"‘Roshan, are you okay?’’ she shouted, although she didn’t know why she bothered. Of course he wasn’t. His limbs moved about frenetically. His mouth seemed to be frozen wide open and his eyes stared into mine frantically.”

"Scariest of all was the silence. He couldn’t make a single sound, not even a splutter. I have never felt a sense of panic like it."

Thankfully, after hitting the child on the back, Mina managed to force the small piece of fruit out.

“Ma’am taught me what to do in emergencies"

“Ma’am taught me what to do in emergencies like this on my first day so I remembered, and I used it. I am so glad that I caught him in time, or it might have been too late. If I didn’t hear the sound he was making, or if I was in another further room, or if the TV was on, I may have missed the whole incident."

Tears streamed down her cheeks as she recollected what had happened. I had never seen such a solid love between a helper and a child before. She was a remarkable person who showed her quick-thinking skills and her ability to remain calm at a crucial time like this - a great combination.

The doctor carried out a few tests to check on Roshan’s condition. And he was fine. Of course, the trauma he experienced took some time to get over- he was overly-cautious over the next few days. Mummy said that it hurt her to see that the whole ordeal had shaken him up too, but she was happy to see that soon enough, he was back to his explorer ways!

Be aware of choking hazards

As children grow up they explore their surroundings by putting things like toy cars, beads, buttons, batteries in their mouth.

It can be confusing as often food is cut up to bite sized pieces for them and their natural reaction is to pick up anything in front of them and see if it is something to eat.

“I am so so so thankful for Mina acting upon it in the right way. She saved my baby’s life! If it wasn’t for her, I may have lost him. Leaving a child for a minute alone can be so dangerous - it is not easy have a close watchful eye over him all the time. We often forget that our maids are human like us too, and they do a lot to be home and look after them every single day. I wish that all parents can show some appreciation to the women who take care of our children, while some of them leave their own back home to do that for us.”

(Story as told to Pavin Chopra)

Parents should always educate caregivers. In a situation where your child is left in the care of someone else, teach them about choking hazards and precautions to take to prevent choking. Identify emergency resources and contacts.

Here are some tips from the British Red Cross on how to attend to a choking kid should you find yourself such a situation:

  • Give up to five back blows. Hit them firmly on their back between the shoulder blades. If back blows do not dislodge the object: This creates a strong vibration and pressure in the airway, which is often enough to dislodge the blockage
  • Give up to five abdominal thrusts. Hold the child around the waist and pull upwards and inwards above their belly button: Abdominal thrusts squeeze the air out of the lungs and may dislodge the blockage
  • If abdominal thrusts do not dislodge the object, repeat steps one and two 
  • Call emergency hotlines if the object has not dislodged after three cycles of back blows and abdominal thrusts

 

Mummies and daddies, what kind of precautions do you take when you leave your child with a caretaker? Do share with us - we would love to hear from you!