Firstly: the toddler’s fine. Fully recovered.
Secondly: this is not a sponsored advertisement for iPhones or baby monitors.
Having said that, Siri has helped save the life of a 1-year-old Australian girl.
As Australian station 7 News reports, the child, Giana Gleeson, had been suffering from a chest infection and bronchiolitis.
Those illnesses can make breathing very hard. At one point, Giana stopped breathing altogether.
Her mother, Stacey Gleeson, of Cairns, Australia, was watching on the baby monitor when she saw Giana turn blue.
She grabbed her iPhone and ran to the girl’s room. But as she turned on the light, she dropped the phone.
She did, however, remember its voice-activation feature.
Ms. Gleeson shouted at the phone, telling Siri to call emergency services on speaker phone while she performed CPR on her daughter.
She communicated with emergency services as she worked to resuscitate Giana. By the time the ambulance arrived, Giana was back.
Before I knew it the ambulance was on its way and Giana was breathing again.
Both of her parents credit the few precious seconds that Siri gave them for potentially making all the difference.
It might have given the precious moments Stacey needed to revive Giana.
The outcome of this story is one of the upsides of the fact that recent iPhones can be set to always be listening for commands. In fact, in its newscast, 7 News had to bleep out Ms. Gleeson’s command – “Hey Siri, call the ambulance!” – lest viewers’ phones respond accordingly.
That new feature came about in iOS 9, when Apple enabled activation of the built-in personal assistant at the sound of your voice, rather than waiting for you to hold down the Home button.
If that’s turned on, Siri can not only open music and send text messages; it an also make hands-free phone calls on its own while you drive, or, obviously, in critical situations like that of Giana Gleeson.
Both parents are now urging others to activate Siri on their phones.
Kids… everybody, everybody should be aware of the abilities of their phone.
To turn on Siri on your iPhone, go to the Settings menu, then to General, and follow the prompts.
Here are more details from Apple.
We’ve previously written about kids and always-listening devices, and it hasn’t been pretty: there was Mattel’s Wi-Fi-enabled, microphone-sporting, speech-recognizing, interactive Barbie doll that was storing recordings of children’s voices on remote computers to improve a voice-recognition engine, for one.
“Hell No Barbie,” said a group dedicated to advertising-free childhood.
But frightening hackable voice recognition dolls aside, this story is the flip side of the coin.
This story is the rare instance where we can say, Thank goodness that gadget’s always listening.
Image of Siri icon courtesy of Soze Soze / Shutterstock.com
13 comments on “Mother saves 1-year-old’s life while iPhone’s Siri calls for an ambulance”
It should be noted that this works on the 6s and 6s Plus while on battery. For older models, the phone has to be plugged in to a power source.
really? (I’m not arguing or trolling; genuinely asking)
My son had a 4s that’s since replaced, but I would swear he used Siri all the time
…or do you mean Siri only makes *phone calls* when plugged in?
You (your son) can use Siri on a 4s by pressing the button, but in this case, the woman used it by saying “Hey Siri” and Siri responded and I’m assuming the phone wasn’t plugged into power. This only works (calling up Siri without pressing the button) on the newer phones (6s and 6s Plus) when not plugged in to power or older (I forget how far back, but I know at least the 6 and 6 Plus work) if they are plugged into power.
ah, didn’t know that. Thanks for the clarification.
“…News had to bleep out Ms. Gleeson’s command – Hey Siri, call the ambulance! – lest viewers’ phones respond accordingly”
Hahah, I know that’s not funny–but that’s pretty funny.
You just know Apple will approach her to become a paid endorser (even if just for perpetual license to retell the tale). No doubt the iPhone is a nifty little device, but this isn’t Siri’s credit or Apple’s. This is a mother thinking quickly and using the tools at hand to resolve an issue and protect her little girl.
Kudos to Ms. Gleeson, great job Mom!
I thought Siri voice activation only works when plugged into power, was she also carrying around a power brick?
No, Siri works whenever it’s enabled. The instant satisfaction is a huge part of the well-marketed appeal in using Siri–there’s no way Apple would limit that by requiring a wired connection for it to function.
Bryan, per my above reply to you, it only works on newer models. Either because Apple wanted a feature only on newer models to boast about a new feature only on the new phones or because the feature uses more battery power and they didn’t want phones to run out of power too quickly. I didn’t to post links to other websites, but if you Google it, you will find that Siri in hands-free mode only work on newer models when not plugged in to a power source. Older models (at least back to 5s) need to be plugged in to a power source.
yeah, thanks. I made this post immediately before reading your message in the above thread.
I stand corrected (see comment by @computica above):
newer phones excepted, activating Siri requires pressing a button unless the phone is charging
Don’t forget, other phone brands can do the same. It’s worth switching this feature on with other phones, too.
So the bottom line is someone made a phone call using the voice feature. How is this news?
It’s news because this fairly recent technology may have helped to save a child’s life. We’ve reported on the security of Siri and the privacy implications of always-on listening technologies, but rarely do we get a chance to point to something as positive as this.