Deputy saves toddler who stopped breathing

(Courtesy: WFLA)

TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) – When Shakira Nelson ran into the Tax Collector’s Office in Tampa, Florida, with her lifeless son, Deputy Steve Donaldson immediately took action.

“And then I thought, ‘Oh my God, I’ve got to do CPR on this child and I hope I don’t break him,’” Donaldson said. “You know, I was afraid I was going to break him. Infant CPR is obviously a more delicate procedure than on an adult.“

(Courtesy: WFLA)
(Courtesy: WFLA)

The entire incident was captured on surveillance video.

On Friday, Hillsborough County Tax Collector Doug Belden and Deputy Donaldson’s colleagues and supervisors gathered to congratulate him and award him for his quick actions. Nelson was also anxious to meet the deputy who saved her son CJ’s life.

Deputy Donaldson doesn’t take all of the credit, admitting he had help from a higher power.

“When I had Cory in my arms, I said a little prayer and said, ‘God, give me strength to save this baby.’ And he did.”

The incident happened on Nov. 4. CJ stopped breathing and Shakira knew she needed to get help fast.

Deputy Donaldson was working off duty at the tax collector’s office for another deputy. It just so happens, Donaldson had just been re-certified in infant CPR.

“I remember as the child was handed over to me, I made a quick assessment. Sometimes they do wake up when you shake them a little bit.” Donaldson said. “He was unresponsive. So, the first flat surface that I had was the ground, so we went to the ground and immediately went into compressions and infant CPR. ”

By the time Tampa Fire Rescue arrived, CJ was breathing on his own. They transported him to the hospital where doctors evaluated him and released him.

Shakira was just thankful Deputy Donaldson was there at that very moment.

“Really, I just like to say thank you. Because I really didn’t know that he had the training.” she said.