Goffstown day-care staff act quickly, calmly to save New Boston infant
Collin Meaney, who turned 5 months old on Monday, was napping in his pack-and-play at the Educare Daycare and Learning Center last Tuesday when an employee checking on him noticed his face was an unusual color.
When Patty Driscoll picked him up, she also saw the baby's hands were beginning to turn purple, and he was limp and unresponsive.
As fellow staff member Kelly Hill ran to get Educare owner Janice Aubin, who called 911, Patty gave Collin rescue breaths and stayed with him until first responders arrived.
Collin's mother, Caitlin Meaney, said that after a battery of tests, it still isn't clear what made the baby stop breathing, but she is grateful to the Educare staff for taking immediate action.
"The doctors said they possibly could have saved him from a case of SIDS," she said. "Luckily, it wasn't the middle of the night."
Collin was six weeks premature, and spent the first 16 days of his life in a neonatal intensive care unit, but Caitlin said he'd never had any unusual episodes during that time.
"He never really gave us a reason to worry," she said.
The combination of frequent checking, trained staff and keeping infants where watchful eyes can monitor them led to Driscoll finding Collin right away.
"All of those things basically saved his life," said Caitlin.
Driscoll, who has been at Educare for 20 years, said though she is trained in CPR, she'd never had to use it.
"I don't think you think about it, you just do it," she said. "Experience and instinct just kicked in."
It was only after that Driscoll said she had time to think about the magnitude of the situation.
"It's hard to think of what could have happened," she said.
Collin was back at the day care Monday after three days in the hospital, and will be hooked up to a heart monitor for about a month as a precaution.
While the staff provides parents with updates at the end of each day, Collin's was a little bit different. In addition to information on his feedings and diapers, Aubin gave Caitlin the lowdown on how well he did with the device that will track his heartbeat.
"He's been beeping all day," Aubin told Caitlin at pickup. "But he's been in such a good mood."
Aubin said that in the 28 years of owning the day care, she's never had to call an ambulance for one of the children, but added that she has higher standards for her staff than what is mandated by the state.
"The state requires that we check sleeping babies every 10 minutes, and I tell my staff every five to seven," she said.
In addition, only opening and closing staff are required by the state to be CPR certified, but that isn't enough for Aubin.
"I require every single staff person to be certified, even the cook," she said. "That's my requirement."
Aubin, who followed the ambulance to CMC and stayed with Collin until Caitlin's arrival, visited the baby after he was transferred to the pediatric medicine department at Elliot Hospital, as did both Driscoll and Hill.
"They couldn't go home until they came to check on him," Caitlin said. "They get really attached to the kids, they spend almost as much time with him as I do, and probably more awake time."
Caitlin said she is trying to find a way to thank the staff for their heroic actions.
"But how do you thank someone who saved your son's life?" she said.
Driscoll said the incident is one she won't soon forget.
"I'm so grateful that everything worked out," she said. "I'm just so happy."