A portrait of Denise Laforest in front of a sign that reads "Welcome to Alert Bay". Beside her are the words "Local hero" in all caps.
Photo Credit: Denise Laforest

Off-Duty Cop Saves Baby’s Life on the Island Highway

We should probably all learn CPR

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She dropped everything to help these frightened parents

For Denise Laforest, it started as a normal drive up the Island Highway to Alert Bay.

But it ended with her saving a 17-month-old girl’s life.

The off-duty RCMP Constable was driving north with her two daughters when she saw a man jump out of his car holding a baby.

They were on the part of the highway where there was no cell service.

So she pulled a U-turn and stopped her car to help.

According to a news release from the RCMP, Laforest told the family she knew first aid, and the man practically threw the baby at her.

That’s because she was choking and had a weak pulse.

Laforest tried giving her back blows to force out whatever was stuck in her throat. But those are really hard to do on a person that small. It didn’t work.

At that point, Laforest started to worry that the baby might die.

So she laid the baby down and started giving her CPR. We’ve seen CPR in the movies, and it looks pretty tough. But on a baby, you can only use your fingers to push their lungs, so you don’t break their ribs.

After a few minutes of CPR, the baby started to wheeze. Then, once everything was out of her throat, she started to cry.

“It was the most beautiful sound we had ever heard,” Laforest said.

Everyone hugged and cried with relief.

The parents took the baby to clinics in Woss and Campbell River to make sure she was okay. We’re happy to report that she had a clean bill of health.

And it’s all thanks to the heroics of Constable Denise Laforest.

Choking can happen to anyone. But you can get the skills you need to save a life.

North Island College offers first aid and CPR training at many locations across WestIsle, NorthIsle, and the Comox Valley.

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