07/30/2012 11:29 am ET Updated Jul 31, 2012

Ed Pakula, Chicago Cop, Saves Baby With CPR On Skyway (VIDEO)

A Chicago police officer credits being a new father himself for the quick-thinking that helped him save the life of a 21-month-old boy in a parking lot Saturday afternoon.

Officer Ed Pakula, a 17-year veteran of the department, says he was flagged down on the Skyway at 12:24 p.m. by a man in the McDonald's parking lot who told him his toddler was unresponsive and not breathing, the Chicago Tribune reports. Pakula began rubbing the boy's chest and administered CPR.

“I gave him a quick puff of breath, he responded a little bit, but then stopped again. I did it a second time, his eyes came back, his color started coming back, and he started breathing on his own,” Pakula told CBS Chicago.

The family said they don't know why the toddler stopped breathing, but said that he had been sick earlier in the week, WGN reports. The boy is back home after an assessment at a nearby hospital.

The incident was far from Pakula's first brush with heroism: the Chicago cop has pulled people from burning buildings three times in his career, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Pakula says he didn't think before springing into action, for which he credits his fatherly instincts:

"I have a 29-month old at home," he told ABC Chicago. "So that hit a little close to home for me."

The family has not been publicly identified, but say they're grateful for Pakula's life-saving actions.

CORRECTION: In an earlier version of this story, the toddler's age was reported incorrectly in the photo caption. He is 21 months old.