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An Important Message

I normally use my blog to talk about living my life gluten-free and helping my son navigate his life gluten-free. However, things do come up from time to time that I believe are important enough to get the word out about and they have nothing to do with eating or living gluten-free. This is one of those messages.

It is a shame that it takes a tragedy to make us think to ask these things…

The 7 y/o daughter of a friend of mine that lives in Texas collapsed at school this past week during lunch and later passed away. At this point, they believe she started choking and instead of asking immediately for help, went to the restroom. She came out in further distress, collapsed and a teacher took her to the nurse. The nurse, EMT’s and the ER personnel did everything they could but were not able to save her.

When Hannah came home from school yesterday, I asked her if she knew what to do if she started choking. She said no, and did not know the universal sign for choking. Needless to say, she does now. She now knows the worst thing that she could do would be to try and fix the problem herself and go to the bathroom or just tell a friend.

Which then leads me to the question of do all of the teachers and cafeteria workers that staff the lunchroom (at the minimum) know CPR and the Heimlich and what to do in the event a student starts to choke? I believe that they probably do, but I don’t know for sure and felt I should definitely ask.

Jensen’s Mom and I have known each other since we were pregnant and due the same month, her with Jensen and I with Hannah. Obviously, there is nothing that is going to bring Jensen back, but if what happened to her could possibly help to save others, then maybe something good can come from this tragedy. Are the children taught what they need to do in the event that they start to choke? If not, could 5 or 10 minutes be taken to show and tell them what to do?

Here is a link to the article:

The universal sign for choking:

I sent the above letter to our school system’s superintendent, the building principal where Hannah attends school & her teacher.

Do your kids know the universal sign for choking?

6 comments to An Important Message

  • Oh Kim, this just kills my heart. Of all the things we, as parents, worry about when we send our kids to school each day, I can't say this is something that has occurred to me. I am CPR certified, but need to get a refresher course.

    This reminds me of the time I did the Heimlich on my youngest sister (ironically, shortly after Easter some 20 years ago). I was babysitting her and one of her friends. They we jumping on her bed and she had a Duck shaped SweetTart in her mouth, which then got stuck in her throat. Just one evening earlier, I learned how to do the Heimlich from an ER Doctor (I was a volunteer "Candy Striper" at St. Ann's Hospital in Westerville), who had just lost a young patient due to choking.

    Thank you so much for sharing this story, I will be talking to Sam and his teachers as well.

  • Thank you for sharing this message. I will check with my children today and begin to discuss what to do when choking. My heart breaks for your friend.

  • That is so sad:( Thanks for the reminder for me to teach this to my son.

    I know the Heimlich due to my CPR training when I worked in preschool.

  • Ohmygosh Kim – I am so sorry – that story just breaks my heart! :(

    ANYONE who works in a school needs to be CPR and First Aid certified in Ohio. When I coached Freshman Volleyball 3 years ago – (which was really just like – about a 15 hour a week job) – I needed to attend 3 different workshops – 1 of which was all day long) so that I could have the appropriate certification. You have to renew CPR every year, and First Aid every 3 years – hopefully that makes you feel a little better.

    I'm glad you and Hannah had a talk, and please tell your friends that they are in my thoughts and prayers and that I am so sorry for their loss :(

  • Jen

    Oh my gosh this is such a sad story! That poor little girl was probably terrified. We didn't learn anything about choking until high school, now I realize how important it is for kids to be taught at an early age what to do if they are choking. I have been cpr certified since high school and am currently a professional rescuer because of my job at the gym. It might be a good idea for everyone to be taught the basics of cpr and first aid! We were taught it in high school but you forget it very easily. It does make me wonder how much of the staff in schools are certified!

  • Kim

    Thank you all.

    Allison – good to know, I appreciate you sharing this.

    Jen – I did get an email back from the school system superintendent and all teachers & staff have been trained. I would love if they could bring the fire dept in to teach the kids about choking & basic first aid, though.


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