Four-year-old Nico DiToro learned in school that in the event of an emergency, he should remain calm and call 911.
That’s what he tried to do recently when his mom, Desiree, was running down the stairs too fast and bumped her head on the low ceiling over the stairwell. She fell down four steps and was knocked unconscious.
Nico was outside playing with his younger sister, Gianna, when he heard the fall. When he saw his mother on the ground, he brought his sister inside, closed the back door, grabbed his mother’s cell phone and made the emergency call.
He was following the procedure he learned in school, but he didn’t expect what he says happened next.
“I called the ambulance,” said the Centereach boy, who attends Unity Drive Pre-K/Kindergarten Center. “But they didn’t answer.”
He actually dialed 9-9-1, according to the call log on Desiree DiToro’s cell phone, which he used to make the call, but he did save the day. After failing to reach 9-1-1, the boy called his father, Marc, who works for Con Edison in the Bronx.
His dad asked for ‘Mommy,’ and the boy told his father that she hurt herself and couldn’t talk because she was sleeping. Her husband said he actually spoke to her briefly on the phone, she said, but she doesn’t remember anything.
“My husband called the ambulance from the Bronx,” said Desiree DiToro, 29. She only remembers hearing the loud crack of her head hitting the wall and members of the Centereach Fire Department arriving at her door.
When an ambulance arrived, she was taken to the hospital but released with a mild concussion and a large bump on her forehead.
Nico had learned to how to react in an emergency situation during the “Teddy Bear Clinic,” a lesson given by the Stony Brook Ambulance Corp. at his school. The program aims to ease children’s nerves at doctor’s offices and in emergencies by performing medical procedures on teddy bears, said Nico’s teacher, Tracy Wilson.
“It’s such an important lesson for children that age,” she said. “You take for granted that something like this could actually happen, and luckily Nico was prepared.”
Wilson was initially surprised to hear that a 4-year-old would rise to that level of responsibility, but not surprised that it was Nico who managed it.
“Nico is a very responsible and mature 4-year-old,” she said.
Nico said his teachers and classmates were proud of him, too, and they made him a crown with a saying he liked to show off - ‘I’m a Hero.’
Pictured above: Desiree DiToro of Centereach with her son, Nico, 4, who called for help when his mom fell down the stairs and was knocked unconscious (May 2, 2011)