WILTON, Maine — A local police sergeant was commended Tuesday by the chief of police and selectmen for saving the life of a 15-month-old child in September.

Paramedics said the boy would not have survived if Sgt. Chad Abbott had not acted promptly and competently, Chief Heidi Wilcox told the board during her quarterly report.

Abbott used a defibrillator on the child, who was not breathing, and started chest compressions before medics from NorthStar emergency services arrived at the Main Street home, Wilcox said.

Little Carson Dalot was fine, a bit warm but not feverish, when parents Brian and Julie Dalot put him to bed on that September night, Brian Dalot said Wednesday.

“He woke up screaming and yelled for about a minute,” Dalot said. “Then he went down and there was no noise anymore. I went to pick him up and he was not responsive.”

Julie Dalot, a former certified nursing assistant, started CPR and her husband called 911, he said.

Abbott arrived within minutes with an automated external defibrillator, he said Wednesday.

The child was blue and having respiratory difficulties, Abbott said. He put the boy on the floor and told the mother to rescue breathe while he set up the AED. The machine advised that the child needed a shock, he said.

Without kid-sized pads, Abbott talked with the medics by radio and was advised where to place the regular ones, he said. The pads carry placement diagrams and the machine voices direction, he said.

Abbott performed chest compressions until the NorthStar medics and members of the Wilton Fire Department arrived to help.

“If he hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t have my son today,” Brian Dalot said. “We’re lucky it was this day and age. He wouldn’t have made it 20 years ago. Technology has so improved.”

The child was taken to a Portland hospital where his heart problem had not been diagnosed, Brian Dalot said.

“Doctors said it could be a once-in-a-lifetime thing or there’s always the possibility (it could happen again),” he said.

Carson suffered slight brain damage from the episode but is improving. His vision is back and he’s starting to crawl and talk again, Dalot said.

He said a physical therapist told the couple this week that she was confident Carson would be able to walk.

“The kid’s a trouper,” he said.

Wilton police have two defibrillators. These were purchased with a grant a few years ago, fire Chief Sonny Dunham told the board.

Officers receive training but once someone stops breathing, the machine does the work of checking the person, voicing commands and advising whether electric shock is needed, Wilcox said.

She said the town’s AEDs have been used at least half a dozen times this year.

“The machine analyzes and corrects the heart rhythm,” Abbott said. “The longer without the heart in rhythm, the less chance of surviving a cardiac arrest.”

AEDs are commonplace now, said Lee Ireland, operations manager for NorthStar. They are in schools, airports and shopping malls. Like fire extinguishers, they are stored in boxes where glass is broken to reach them in emergencies. Users follow the machines’ prompts, he said.

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Department and Farmington and Wilton police departments have them, he said.

Distributed by MCT Information Services