PSA: My Child Choked, And This Is Why I Knew What To Do

The switch to solid foods is nerve-wracking! As first-time parents, my husband and I watched each bite, and every little noise had us wondering, “Is this choking?!” We watched infant first-aid videos and practiced on dolls. As our baby grew, he became more competent, we became more experienced and stopped worrying.

So here we are now, with a 6- and 3-year-old, and we haven’t practiced the Heimlich in years, because we figure “Well, our kids know how to eat.”

Colleen Green wants to encourage parents to keep practicing these life-saving maneuvers even as their children age. The risk of choking-related deaths doesn’t drop sharply until five years of age, according to the CDC.  At 4 and a half, her daughter was close to that—certainly not at an age where you’d feel you have to watch every bite. One night during dinner, her daughter choked. “There was one cough,” she wrote. “One high pitched whistle (it’s called stridor). Then nothing. Her eyes were super wide, she was very clearly scared.”

As a First-Aid instructor, Green knew what to do. She asked her daughter to try to cough. Nothing. She performed the Heimlich Maneuver. Nothing. Finally, she picked up her daughter and gave 5 forceful blows to her back—and chunks of food flew out. She had saved her daughter’s life.

Now Green wants to spread the word that every parent should take First-Aid classes—even though watching videos is better than nothing, getting that muscle-memory feel of performing the technique on a mannequin gives you the knowledge that watching a video can’t. Classes are often offered at local hospitals and parenting centers.

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Becky Patouhas, social media specialist, has been a babywearing educator since 2013. Her favorite part of her job is a tie between seeing all the cute baby pictures and helping parents get that “I can’t believe I can hold my baby AND eat!” moment. A first-generation American and mom of two small boys, she and her family live in Michigan, where she enjoys volunteering with her local babywearing group. Becky loves her Zypora meh dais (she has two!) because they’re so cushy on her shoulders. She always has a Lightly Padded ring sling in her purse because she loves the soft padding, and she thinks Isle of Skye is the best colorway out there!

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