Last week, I had a bit of a scare. Tina and I were at a local park having a fantastic time doing mini-photo sessions for 12 families. Yep, we were busy but it was fun!
Since it was a holiday, our kids were off of school and I had my twin boys with me. They had fun “assisting” me in getting their friends to smile for the camera.
Anyway, midway through the day I decided to run them home to hang out with their older brother. And that is when things got scary…….
On the drive back, one of my sons started to gag and with a look of panic on his face say, “It’s stuck, it’s stuck.” I thought he had a popcorn hull caught in his throat (he had been eating handfuls of cheddar popcorn while at the park) and started to pass him a bottle of Gatorade. But as I did, I asked “What, what is stuck?”
“A penny.” He said with tears forming in his eyes and a look of fear on his face that I still can’t forget.
My mind started to race, “Holy sh#t, the kid has a penny in his throat and I’m driving a car!”
Thankfully, I was seconds away from turning onto my street and into my driveway. I knew that because he was able to speak that he was getting air, so I didn’t completely freak out.
Anyway, I peeled into my driveway, threw the car into park (but left it on for some reason) and yanked him out of the backseat and onto the driveway. I then quickly gave him two quick Heimlich thrusts and out flew the penny.
My son then crumbled in my arms with relief. We stood there, tightly hanging onto each other (with the car rumbling in the background). As he cried, I kept whispering in his ear, “It is ok, it IS OK, you are all right.”
In looking back on that day, I’m amazed at how I kept my cool. That I didn’t panic and that I knew what to do. It reminded me how important it is to know this life saving maneuver.
If you are not familiar with the Heimlich Maneuver here are the steps (for helping a child) taken from the American Heart Association’s website:
When a child is choking and can’t breathe or speak, you must give abdominal thrusts (the Heimlich maneuver). The Heimlich maneuver pushes air from the child’s lungs like a cough. This can help remove the blocking object. You should give abdominal thrusts until the object is forced out or the victim becomes unresponsive.
If you think a child is choking, ask the child “Are you choking?” If he nods, tell him you are going to help.
Kneel or stand firmly behind him and wrap your arms around him so that your hands are in front.
Make a fist with one hand.
Put the thumb side of your fist slightly above the navel (belly button) and well below the breastbone.
Grasp the fist with your other hand and give quick upward thrusts into his abdomen.
Give thrusts until the object is forced out and he can breathe, cough, or talk or until he stops responding.