Emma Barbaro

Image of Mia and Emma BarbaroEmma Barbaro knows all too well that CPR skills really do save lives.

On a hot summer's day in December 2012 Emma was visiting her cousin’s house with her children, Mia who was just short of her sixth birthday, her ten year old son and six day old newborn. The kids decided to go for a swim while Emma and her cousin sat a metre away watching them.

Emma says Mia had been walking around the safety ledge when she slipped “I took my eyes off the pool for at the very most a minute or two to make a bottle for the little one and in those few moments Mia had slipped to the bottom. My son and his cousin dived down and pulled her out and he was yelling for me.”

Emma says it’s a moment she will never forget. “Mia was lifeless, her mouth was purple and she was not moving at all. Time sort of felt like it stood still at that point. I found a place to pop the baby down safely and ran over to grab Mia. It was a very trying few moments of trying to pull myself together and think about what I was going to do.”

Thankfully Emma had completed CPR training about 15 years earlier “I put her down on the pavement and started CPR, I could only sort of remember what to do and wasn’t sure if I was doing it right, but I knew I had to give it a really good shot. The knowledge that I did have was enough to get her to eventually breathe.”

When she came to Mia’s eyes were glassy and she started to vomit violently. When paramedics arrived her oxygen levels were very low and she was dropping in and out of consciousness so she was taken to hospital. Thankfully for the Barbaro family Mia did make a full recovery, but things could have been very different if it wasn’t for Emma’s quick actions and CPR skills.

Emma says her message for others is simple. “I think everyone should know CPR, it’s a life skill that everybody needs, but parents especially. Things happen so quickly that without that knowledge we could lose our children in the blink of an eye. We’re all very busy but it’s so important and you need to make time to learn.”

Since the incident Emma has been an Ambassador for Royal Life Saving Society WA’s Keep Watch program. “I just wanted to help make the community aware that this sort of thing can happen, and did happen to us! I was right there, so I don’t think there was much I could have done differently but you still feel that you’ve failed your child in that moment. Royal Life Saving’s been wonderful for me in healing and also helping others as well.”

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