5-Year-Old Boy Grabbed Infant Sister And Ran To Neighbors For Assistance After Finding Mom Unconscious In Shower

As parents are the ones always looking out for their children, it's a scary prospect to think about what might happen if kids unexpectedly need to look out for their parents. For one Arizona family, this became a reality in 2017 when one mother suffered a seizure while she was in the shower. After her 5-year-old son saw her blacked out, without missing a beat, he grabbed his baby sister and ran to the neighbors for help and in all likelihood, saved his mom's life.
Kaitlyn Cicalese had stepped into the shower that night when a seizure caused her to collapse, hit her head and pass out. Thankfully, her son Salvatore Cicalese — who was in bed at the time — heard a thud and decided to investigate. After he stepped inside the bathroom he witnessed his mother unconscious in the shower with blood pouring from her head.

For such a traumatic experience, one would expect the young boy to panic, cry or call out, but instead, the cool-thinking kid knew he had to take action. In order to open the garage door so that he could go outside and run to get help, he used a stool to stand up and reach the button. He later explained that he actually fell off once on a pile of shoes but got back up and managed to get the garage door open.

He then went and wrapped his 2-month old sister in a blanket and carried her outside with him. He walked next door to neighbor Jessica Penoyer's house for help, however, it took a moment for her to realize what had happened.

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Penoyer told ABC 15 Arizona, "He's standing there and holding something and I thought it was a doll." It wasn't a doll but his baby sister. The neighbor then misunderstood that he had come over to tell her that his dog had died. Penoyer continued:

"He said no, my mom died in the shower. Can you take care of us?"

Immediately, she leaped into action and called 911, before she went next door with Sal and his baby sister. When they arrived, she found Kaitlyn knocked out in the bathtub while the shower was still on. Kaitlyn told the news outlet:

"Honestly he saved my life. I was under the faucet. If he wouldn't have gotten help, I would have drowned."

It had actually been her second seizure since she had given birth to her daughter. She recalled putting her kids to bed and then stepping into the shower after a long day. She said, "I turned on the shower, that's all I remember." When she came to, she was already in the hospital, with no recollection of anything that had happened in between.

Understandably, the entire incident had been traumatic for Sal. Since then he began to ask his mom every day whether she was alright and if she was going to die. Kaitlyn said:

"Every day is a challenge for us. He asks me a billion times if I'm going to be okay. He'll tell me ‘are you going to have another seizure,’ no I'm ok. Are you going to die today? No, I'm not going to die today."
As for the reason why Sal ensured that he took his infant sister with him when he went to the neighbor's house for help? He told his "nana" that he didn't want her to see their mother dead, which is why he wrapped her up and carried her out of the house too.

Kaitlyn spoke highly of her son's bravery and courage and the fact that he saved her life. But she wasn't the only one. The local fire department also wanted to honor Sal for his brave efforts that day. So one Friday afternoon, a fire truck drove up to the Cicalese home, where fire department spokesperson Shawn Gilleland made Sal an "honorary firefighter." The young boy was given a certificate, patch, shirt and helmet. Gilleland said:

"Rural Metro fire wants to recognize you as an honorary firefighter. You get to join the ranks of all these guys that came to help your mom."

Sal looked overjoyed as he got to sit behind the steering wheel and don his new fire department gear.

Gilleland added that the story was a good opportunity to remind parents to have an action plan in place in case of an emergency situation. Despite Sal's quick-thinking actions, the Cicaleses said they hadn't ever spoken to him about what to do in such a situation, and it seems that he acted purely on instinct. Gilleland suggested the following for parents to discuss with their children:
"Talk to them about it. What do you need to do? How do you dial 911. What are the proper uses for 911? Also, how do you get out of your house? What to do if there is a fire."

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