‘The most terrifying moment of my life’; Giaan Rooney reveals how CPR saved her daughter

“There was a moment where we both thought our daughter was dead, lying in my husband’s arms like a lifeless rag doll.”

Olympic swimmer and Gold Coast local Giaan Rooney is desperately pleading for parents to learn CPR after the emergency procedure saved the life of her 11-month-old daughter on Tuesday.

The 35-year-old TV personality spoke with 1029 Hot Tomato’s Flan and Emily Jade with Christo this morning, describing the frightening moment her daughter, Alexa, had a seizure and stopped breathing.


Rooney admitted she and her husband Sam Levett initially thought their baby was unsettled because she was teething, however it wasn’t until they gave her a sip of water and she passed out that they knew something was wrong.

“I got her up and sat in a rocking chair in her room,” Giaan said. “I put her little drink bottle in her mouth, she had two sips of water and then went rigid and her eyes rolled back in her head.

“After that she started having a full seizure and wasn’t responsive.

“It was honestly the most terrifying horrific moment of our lives.”

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Rooney said she raced down stairs to call an ambulance, whilst her husband began doing infant CPR, which he learnt four years ago before the birth of their son.

“She was still unresponsive, she wasn’t breathing and she was starting to turn blue,” Rooney said.

“So he gave her two big breaths and a really good whack on the chest and then she started making murmuring sounds again.”

“That was the best sound I’ve ever heard in my life.”

Lexi was then rushed to the Gold Coast University Hospital where she underwent tests.

Rooney said it turned out it was a virus that caused her daughter’s temperature to rise and brought on the ‘Febrile Convulsion’.

“This is a child’s way of dealing with a sudden spike or drop in their temperature – the body shuts down to protect the brain – and resets the system,” she said.

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The Gold Coaster is now urging parents, or anyone who deals with children, to make sure they know CPR.

“Please go and do an infant child CPR course – you just don’t know when you’re going to need it,” Rooney said.

“It’s amazing… we did it four years prior, but in that extreme moment of panic the basics came right back to us.”

You can listen to Giaan Rooney’s full chat with Flan & Emily Jade with Christo below: