Alexa Maria Panebianco had just gotten certified in CPR two weeks earlier, but when it came time to use the material she learned at Seneca Middle School, she knew exactly what to do.
While visiting a family member’s house in Bayport, a three-month-old baby named Jayden stopped breathing in his crib.
“My uncle had put the baby down to go to bed,” she said. “He checked a few minutes later if the baby fell asleep and saw him on his stomach.”
Jayden had turned pale white and his lips were blue. Panebianco’s aunt and father began CPR and called 911.
“They tried, but it wasn’t working,” she said. “I went and tried, was doing it for a little bit and the baby started breathing.”
She said she was slightly nervous, but pleased with aiding in helping Jayden, who is still at Stony Brook University Medical Center and is on a breathing device. His parents were unavailable for comment.
“I can’t believe it happened,” Panebianco said. “I was so surprised that I needed to use CPR.”
Her health education teacher at Seneca, Carla Wasnick, is proud she put her newly learned tools to work. She chose Panebianco as a class CPR captain because of her confidence and ability to perform without hesitation.
"Alexa is an excellent student who always gives 100 percent," said Wasnick. "During the CPR unit I noticed she had a special skill in performing CPR, and did not show any hesitation with the steps. It is one thing to be excellent in the classroom and quite another to be equally smooth in a real life emergency situation. I'm very proud of her."
She was absent from school the following day as she spent the night answering questions from police officials and emergency workers.
“It all happened so quickly,” said her mom Lisa Panebianco. “It was fresh in her mind and she took it all pretty well. She was really calm considering the situation.”