Mother of choking baby thanks officer who rode to the rescue

27 11 2007

Tiffany Blake’s knight arrived in a police uniform instead of shining armor and came on a brown police horse named Bandit instead of a white stallion. But like any true rescuer, Trenton Officer John Harbourt arrived just in time to save her 11-month-old daughter’s life.

Harbourt successfully performed a back blow on Nevaeh Croweli last Wednesday afternoon when the infant was choking on a carrot during a Thanksgiving party inside Capital Child Care Center, where Blake was volunteering.

After several people tried unsuccessfully to clear Nevaeh’s airway, Harbourt was the calm, reassuring presence who took the limp girl from her mother’s grasp and, in one swift back blow, had the little girl breathing again.

“He is my knight, my hero,” Blake said yesterday outside Trenton Police Headquarters, where the mom and Harbourt were reunited.

“I feel like saying ‘Thank you’ isn’t enough,” Blake, a Morrisville, Pa., resident, said after Harbourt arrived at the media event much like he did last Wednesday, on Bandit.

“She looks a lot better than the last time I saw her,” Harbourt said as Nevaeh played with television reporters’ microphones and her mother told of the harrowing incident, something she said she never wants any parent to go through.

Blake said she was not right next to her daughter when the baby started choking on a hard carrot after swiping it from another child’s plate at the center on West Front Street downtown.

When Blake rushed to Nevaeh — heaven spelled backward — her daughter was silent, her eyes were rolling back in her head and her arms dropped by her side, said Blake. “It’s every parent’s nightmare and your instinct is to panic,” she said.

But Blake was concentrating on her daughter, trying herself to dislodge the obstruction. Someone dialed 911 and when Trenton dispatchers sent the call to police officers, Harbourt was about a block and a half away.

Harbourt rushed to the call — in horse terms, he cantered Bandit, — and tied up his partner outside. He was there in 30 seconds, he estimated

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