HERO: Ailsa and Lawrie Ellwood did not hesitate to take action when they realised baby Olivia was struggling to breathe.
HERO: Ailsa and Lawrie Ellwood did not hesitate to take action when they realised baby Olivia was struggling to breathe. Sarah Jane Smith

Thinking on their feet meant saving a baby's life

WHEN Ailsa and Lawrie Ellwood heard someone screaming for help on Monday morning, they dropped everything and left.

At around 10am Mrs Ellwood was at home in Glen Eden when she noticed a woman's frantic screams and rushed out with her husband to investigate.

She found her neighbour of just four days slumped on the ground with a baby in her hands.

"She was calling out 'help me, my baby's not breathing',” Mrs Ellwood said.

"We rushed out and she had more or less collapsed on the next door neighbour's front lawn.

"I took the baby off her - she wasn't breathing and she was very limp.

"I just turned the baby upside down and I had one hand under her tummy and I was patting her back because I thought she might have had something lodged down her throat.”

Mrs Ellwood ran back to her house with 11-month-old Olivia as emergency services were alerted.

"I came in and I kept patting her back for about a minute, I suppose, and then she started to breathe on her own,” she said.

"The baby's mother, she was just frantic as you can understand.”

On the phone with ambulance services Mrs Ellwood continued to receive guidance to ensure baby Olivia continued breathing.

"They said to just lay her on the recovery position on the floor.”

An ambulance van arrived shortly. Attendees said Olivia was breathing rapidly and experiencing a high temperature.

Amid all the chaos and confusion, however, the 75-year-old retiree said her quick response was little more than "just natural instinct”.

She said she faced a similar situation four decades ago when walking with a neighbour.

"Her little boy was walking beside her and he had a lolly in his mouth,” Mrs Ellwood said.

"As he tripped the lolly went down and lodged in his throat so I just tipped him upside down and gave him a vigorous rub.”

A Queensland Ambulance Service Spokesman said anyone who encountered an unresponsive infant or child should call triple zero immediately.

"If they are not breathing or you are uncertain, begin CPR straight away,” the spokesperson said.

"(Our) officers are trained specifically for these scenarios and will be able to guide you over the phone until advanced medical help arrives.”

Olivia returned home about 4 hours after being taken away by ambulance, to a mother who was very grateful for assistance in a time of dire need.

"She just kept thanking us,” Mrs Ellwood said.