It's been a milestone week for the Lynch family of Weymouth, Mass.: Their 3-year-old daughter was honored for getting urgent medical care last month for her pregnant mother, and within hours, the family welcomed a healthy baby girl.
On Feb. 10, Kevin Lynch awoke with a severe stomach bug and drove himself to the emergency room at about 2 a.m. Later that morning, while he was still at the hospital, his wife, Tiffany Lynch, also fell ill while home with their daughters, Aryanna, 3, and, Camryn, 1.
Eight months pregnant and feeling extremely dizzy, Tiffany, 33, tumbled off the couch and fell unconscious for an estimated 20 minutes, Kevin Lynch recalled Thursday. Doctors believe she suffered a seizure brought on by severe dehydration, he said.
Aryanna sprang into action, knowing just who to call: Tiffany's cousin, Kristine Munnis, a relative so close the Lynch girls call her "auntie." But Aryanna had to leave a message.
"'Auntie, call me. Mommy's not waking up. I need you,'" went the plea, Kevin said. Munnis got the message, called 911 and returned Aryanna's call. Dressed up as Snow White, the little girl unbolted the door to let paramedics inside, staying calm and minding her baby sister all the while, Kevin said, adding that Tiffany was hospitalized for three days.
"She's definitely our little rock star," Kevin said of Aryanna. "She's just a hero all around. I don't want to think what would have happened if she wasn't there."
The Lynches, who don't have a landline phone, were all the more amazed because they had never taught Aryanna the password to Tiffany's cellphone, which is entered by drawing a picture on the screen. But somehow, Aryanna unlocked it.
"She's such a sponge," said Kevin, 34. "She's such a smart kid. I think she's seen my wife using the phone she just memorized it, and when she needed to know it, she just knew what to do."
Aryanna unlocked the phone, got to the phone book and found Munnis' photo that was linked to her phone number. "That was the key," Kevin said.
On Wednesday afternoon, Aryanna, who turns 4 next month, was honored at the Weymouth police station with a citation from the mayor and a safety officer's award from the police department, along with a scholarship from a preschool and a basket of toys.
"It's remarkable what she did to save her mother's life," Weymouth police Capt. Richard Fuller said in an interview. "The outcome could have been tragic."
And early Thursday, the Lynches were back at the hospital, where Tiffany gave birth to Ashlynn-Lee, the couple's third child. Kevin says they are both doing well; Tiffany was not available for an interview, but is "beyond proud" of Aryanna, her husband said.
Though the effect that smartphones and tablets have on young children continues to be studied, it is clear that such devices can be beneficial in the hands of young children in emergencies.
In Arizona, a 2-year-old boy was credited with saving his mother, who was about to pass out after losing a lot of blood from a dog bite. The boy, who didn't know how to call 911, did know how to make a video call using FaceTime on his mom's iPhone and called a family friend who summoned help, according to news reports.
Kevin Lynch said he will make sure all of his girls know how to use a cellphone. For now, he still marvels at Aryanna's actions.
"I'm extremely proud of her," he said. "She never ceases to amaze me, what she's capable of doing."