TSA agent leaps over conveyor belt, saves baby boy from choking

Posted at 9:04 AM, Dec 27, 2021

The Transportation Security Administration is hailing the heroic actions of a worker who was able to recently save the life of a two-month-old baby at one of the country's busiest airports.

According to a Thursday press release from the TSA, a young mother was working her way through the security checkpoint at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey with her baby son. When she picked him up out of his car carrier, she noticed he wasn't breathing.

She immediately shouted for help. Luckily, Cecilia Morales was nearby.

Morales has only been with the TSA since October. But before joining the agency, she worked as an EMT in the Northern New Jersey area for about a decade. She knew exactly what to do.

According to security footage, Morales leaped over a conveyor belt carrying luggage and ran to the mother and child.

"She was so nervous and I knew if I didn't get over there, it wasn't going to be a good outcome," Morales said, according to the press release.

She held the child carefully, placed him face down on her arm, and attempted the Heimlich maneuver twice by patting him on the back. Eventually, the child began breathing on his own.

"The mother was too nervous and in shock to hold her son, so I carried the infant through the walk through metal detector," Morales said.

Later, EMTs arrived to treat the boy with oxygen.

Morales said her previous work prepared her for the moment.

"I saw the video afterward," Morales said. "It was the first time I've ever seen myself in action, saving a life. It was mind-blowing to watch. I felt that my training and experience just took over."

"Two months on the job and she's literally a life-saver," said Thomas Carter, the TSA's federal security director for New Jersey. "Officer Morales's quick reaction and actions helped ensure that this family will have a happy holiday season. Her actions were inspiring."