I work from home, so I was in my office at the time, and my wife’s mother was watching our 10 month old daughter, Charlotte, while my wife could get some work done upstairs.
That’s when we heard a ‘CRASH’ followed by a little cry from Charlotte.
If you’re a parent, you know there’s a different kind of cry when they are REALLY hurt, you know, the kind where its just a little wimper at first, followed by a few seconds of silence?
Well that’s the kind of cry this was. So like a good mama, my wife came running down stairs.
What she saw sent her straight into a panic.
Charlotte’s eyes were rolling back in her head; and she was collapsing.
That’s when my wife started screaming and, I thought I heard my mother in law scream, “She’s Choking!” More on that little detail later though.
I burst from my office, charged into the room and sure enough, there was my very blue little 10 month old girl… NOT breathing. I grabbed her from my wife, seeing the eyes jostle in my daughters head as she was spacing out and knew I had to do the Heimlich maneuver on her. So I grabbed her from behind, gripped my hands above her upper abdomen and…
WAIT! something inside me screamed! I was forgetting something.
That’s when it came rushing back to me. The brain does VERY cool things when under stress, especially if you’ve been trained. In just moments you can recall entire lessons from coaching you’ve had in your past, or books you’ve read, even if it was years ago. That’s when it came to me, infants need the Heimlich performed differently! They need to be struck on the back quite hard. I also remembered, that one of the common mistakes people make with the Heimlich is not doing it hard enough. It needs to be done hard enough to use the remaining air in the diaphragm to expel the object lodged in their throat. Do it to softly and air leaks out, giving you less volume of air to work to your advantage. So you REALLY want to get it right the first time.
Remembering this, I quickly rolled her onto her stomach, raised my hand to strike her, said a quick prayer and proceeded to drive the heel of my palm into her upper back as hard as I thought she could handle.
Luckily the object, a piece of foam she’d chewed off a dumbbell, flew from her throat and she was just fine after a few tears.
But it begs this question…
Would you have known what to do?
I’ll be honest, while I did know how to handle a choking infant… that’s about the only emergency I was equipped to handle. I didn’t know how to treat a burn should one occur, or shock or hypothermia.
Its a big weakness in my preparedness. That’s why I started seeking out experts to learn from, and when I met Dr. James Hubbard, the author of a great little resource book called, Living Ready Pocket Manual: First Aid. His book shows you exactly how to perform the procedure that saved my daughters life that day, along with hundreds of other simple to remember and implement techniques.
The book is a great little resource to have on hand, or keep in a bug out bag as a quick reference tool you can call upon in an emergency, with quick action plans of things you can do while you wait for the paramedics to arrive.
If you would like to learn the proper methods for practically all first aid procedures for the most common emergencies, you should have a book like this on your shelf.
There’s some cool little tricks in here for survivalists too. Like tricks for purifying water without chemicals, or filters that you can do through nothing but salvaged materials. I won’t spoil the method for you here, but I tested it out on some pond water that I collect, that gets a bit scummy, and had excellent results.
So if you’re not quite up to snuff on your first aid, think seriously about picking up a copy of this book.