‘She saved my baby’s life ... she saved my life’

Mariam Trarore with baby Zara and her sister Fiba
Mariam Trarore with baby Zara and her sister Fiba
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A mum has spoken of her gratitude to a police officer who saved her newborn baby’s life when the tot stopped breathing.

Mariam Traore, 32, had been feeding her daughter Zara at their home in Worth Road, Pound Hill, when the terrifying drama began.

“I gave her some milk and it went down the wrong way,” said Mariam. “She could not cry or breathe. I was in a panic. I was so panicked I didn’t even think to call 999. We just jumped in the car with her to get her to hospital.”

Mariam’s boyfriend Mamadou Bah drove while Mariam cradled the tot. “We drove like mad,” said Mariam, “and couldn’t stop at traffic lights.”

The erratic driving alerted police and as officers approached the car Mamadou shouted: “The baby can’t breathe, the baby can’t breathe.”

PC Amanda Phipps took little Zara from Mariam’s arms, placed her in the back seat and administered emergency CPR while the family were taken to Crawley Hospital.

The tot started breathing again on the way and the family were met by doctors waiting outside the hospital.

“It was very frightening, a very bad experience,” said Mariam. “I want to say thank you to that police lady. She saved my baby’s life - she saved my life.”

Zara - who has three older sisters - was in hospital for five days but has since made a full recovery.

The terrifying ordeal happened just two weeks after Zara was born last August - and she is now a healthy 10-month-old. “She’s even getting naughty,” said mum Mariam, who originates from West Africa and moved to Crawley from Holland in 2007. “She loves to pull people’s hair.”

Mariam re-lived her ordeal this week after PC Amanda Phipps was officially commended for her actions in saving Zara’s life.

PC Phipps said: “When I initially saw the baby I was very concerned that such a young child wasn’t breathing. I have two young children myself and it was a bit close to home. I thought I needed to do something and instinct just kicked in so I started carrying out resus. When the baby made a noise and subsequently moved I thought that was a good sign but continued with the breaths until we got to the hospital.”

Last week PC Phipps received a Commendation for her quick thinking and actions in saving baby Zara.“I just feel very honoured to have been nominated for this award,” she said.