A San Mateo County Sheriff's sergeant and two deputies are being credited with saving the life of a 1-year-old boy who stopped breathing Sunday afternoon, authorities said.

Sgt. Al Elzey was only four blocks away when he got a report around 2:24 p.m. that a baby was unconscious and not breathing at a home on the 2900 block of Fair Oaks Avenue in an unincorporated area of Redwood City, said Sheriff's Lt. Larry Schumaker.

As Elzey pulled up to the home the parents burst outside and thrust their limp child into his arms. The sergeant flipped the infant over and used the palm of his hand to deliver several solid raps on the child's back. The Heimlich maneuver, which is used to pop blockages from an adult's throat, is too rough for a small child.

The taps worked and the child, who'd been motionless and foaming at the mouth, suddenly started breathing again, Schumaker said.

Around this time Deputies Gaby Chaghouri and Frank Dal Porto arrived and helped care for the boy. Chaghouri swept the boy's mouth with his finger to make sure nothing else blocked his breathing.

It appears the child had a high fever, which provoked a seizure that in turn caused his tongue to block his airway, said Schumaker. The boy was transported to a local hospital to get checked out after the scare.

"It was a pretty chaotic situation, with lots of screaming and crying," said Schumaker.

Contact Joshua Melvin at 650-348-4335. Follow him at Twitter.com/melvinreport.