Tennessee girl, 12, takes charge when mom has seizure while driving

Paramedics and firefighters were impressed by the actions of 12-year-old Serenity Russell.

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Paramedics and firefighters were impressed by the actions of 12-year-old Serenity Russell.

A Tennessee girl stayed calm when her mother had a seizure at a busy intersection while driving, putting the vehicle in park and asking bystanders to call for help, the

Times Free Press of Chattanooga reported.

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Serenity Russell’s cool handling of a potentially dangerous situation occurred on April 20, which was her 12th birthday. Her mother, Roni Mothershead, was driving in eastern Chattanooga when the mom had a seizure, the Times Free Press reported.

Serenity put the car in park, held her mother’s head still and asked someone to call for help. Then she had a bystander bring cool water and used her jacket as a wet towel to put on her mother’s forehead, the newspaper reported.

Serenity’s calm reaction came from past experience, she said, as her mother has had seizures before.

“It made me kind of nervous because it was in the car,” Serenity told the Times Free Press. "She has had seizures before where I've taken care of her so I know what to do. She's my mom and I love her.”

On Friday, firefighters and paramedics honored Serenity with a blue ribbon certificate and a birthday cake.

“When responders arrived on scene, Serenity had taken control of the scene and really displayed some heroic actions,” Chattanooga Fire Department Chief Phil Hyman told the News Free Press. "Her mother was having a medical issue and they were right in the middle of an intersection, a dangerous intersection, and Serenity really snapped into action.

"She displayed just an inordinate amount of calmness during that entire event, like nothing was going on. Twelve-year-old Serenity is the kind of person we love to have in our community. She did an outstanding job."

Mothershead said she did not recall what happened when she had the seizure.

"We pulled up at the intersection and, of course, I ended up having a seizure and she put the car in park and kept me still and everything and called for help," she said. "To see her recognized like this is an amazing feeling.”

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