IF YOU'RE looking for a hero, look no further than brave eight-year-old Harry Flynn who has saved his sister's life at least 21 times.
"There is no doubt that she would be dead except for Harry," said mum Maria (38) about her quick-thinking son, who first gave his infant sister life-saving breaths when she was just eight weeks old and he was seven.
Now 18 months old, Isabelle was born at 28 weeks and her early delivery is responsible for her having 'apnoea of prematurity' that causes her to stop breathing for at least 20 seconds at a time.
Harry saved his little sister's life after putting into practice the basic life-saving skills he learnt with the Irish Red Cross T-Bear, aka the Teddy Bears, who are aged between five and 10 and who are taught first-aid, including CPR.
"He is very calm and was sure of himself because of the practice he had done using mannequins. I am a Red Cross leader in another group but I haven't saved anyone's life and Harry has," said proud mum Maria.
The family were in their Waterford home when Isabelle stopped breathing for the first time.
"She had cried a little then gone silent and turned blue. Harry was holding her and he tapped her foot and called her name. Then when she didn't respond, just like in his training, he breathed twice into her mouth and she came round.
"She was not responding and had no oxygen in her until he breathed into her. She would have passed away, but for his quick thinking. With babies you don't need to do compressions and the breath from him was all she needed."
As a result of the condition there is a special alarm in Isabelle's cot for night-time and it goes off if she stops breathing.
Maria said that more often than not Harry is faster out of bed when he hears it and, "he has saved her life at least 20 more times. He is an amazing son and brother and I am very proud of him."
Harry is delighted with a certificate of merit award he received from the Irish Red Cross.
"Maybe if you join the Irish Red Cross you would learn how to save a life too," he said.