Pasadena family grateful for officers who helped save choking baby: 'They're my heroes'

PASADENA, Texas (KTRK) -- Two Pasadena police officers saved the life of a choking 4-month-old on Monday. The officers happened to be across the street at a neighbor's house when they heard the baby couldn't breathe. The ordeal was captured on body camera video.

The baby's great-grandmother and mother said every new parent needs to know what to do if their baby stops breathing.

Pasadena Police Officers Garza and Robertson did not hesitate when they heard sobs and screams coming from across the street.

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"I don't know if my daughter would be here without them," said Tawney Johnson.

She and Cathy Johnson said they were playing with baby Ilianna in the yard like usual on Monday, when all of a sudden they knew something was wrong.

"She was swinging in her swing. When her mom picked her up to take her out, she just started gasping for air," Cathy said.

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Without Pasadena police officers being in the right place at the right time, Cathy said she may have lost her only great-grandchild. She said that's a familiar fear after already losing three grandchildren.
"I lost one that was a year-and-a-week old. One was three days old. One was never born. She passed away before she was born," Cathy recalled.

Baby Ilianna survived thanks to quick thinking officers who knew what to do. They even taught the technique to Tawney before leaving.

SEE ALSO: Police officer saves 3-week-old who stopped breathing in rescue caught on camera

If you have a baby 11-months or younger or too small for the Heimlich Maneuver, medical experts say you should turn them over on your forearm. Hold their neck with one hand and use the heel of your other hand to give a few quick blows between their shoulder blades to get them breathing again.

"[It's] 100% hands down, every parents needs to know what to do if their child isn't breathing or choking on something, because I froze. I'll admit it. I froze," Tawney said. "I just want [the officers] to know from the bottom of my heart, 'thank you so much.' That little girl is my whole wide world. Without her, I would be nothing, and they're my heroes."

They still don't know why Ilianna stopped breathing, but since Monday, gratitude has only grown for the healthy, smiling baby.

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