During our family vacation in 2010, my son choked on a mint. I can still vividly recall the fear that instantly washed over me when I realized that it wasn't a joke. He was truly choking.
My first instinct was to pat this back. Unfortunately, this is NOT what you are supposed to do. Thankfully my mom, who is certified in CPR, was there and she sprang into action immediately. And although it seemed like a long time was passing, she successfully performed the Heimlich Maneuver and dislodged the mint in a matter of seconds.
Had she not been there the situation could have turned out much differently.
At that point, I knew that I needed to get certified as well.
Shortly after his choking incident, I took a CPR certification course. In a few short hours I learned the proper way to respond if someone is choking, how to perform CPR and use an AED device. I was thankful I took the course, but hoped I would never use the skills I learned.
After taking the class, I never thought much about it. Not until one night 9 months later when my daughter choked on a grape at the dinner table.
I can barely describe how it feels to watch your child choke. The fear in their eyes. The seconds ticking by waiting and praying for the item to dislodge and for them to breath again. It is such a vulnerable feeling that makes you appreciate how fragile life is and how it could change in an instant.
I am so thankful that I took that course because it provided me with the skills and knowledge I needed to react appropriately when she choked. By performing the Heimlich, I dislodged the grape.
Because of my experience, I strongly encourage everyone to get certified in CPR. Some locations that offer certification include:
- 1st Choice CPR
- Local YMCAs
- The Red Cross (Adult and Pediatric CPR/AED course taught at a variety of Northeast Ohio locations)
My sincere hope is that you will take the course and never need to use the skills. However, if you are ever in a situation where you need to do the Heimlich or CPR, I know you will be grateful you got certified.
I know I am.