Cincinnati Family Magazine

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February 25, 2024

Quick-Thinking Life-Saving Kids

CPR, anyone? With the proper skills, quick-thinking kids can learn to become life-saving kids.

With proper training, kids can use their quick thinking and the skills they’ve learned to become life-saving kids. Here are a few accounts as recalled by Diana Wood of Cincinnati’s chapter of the American Red Cross:

Kids Administering the Heimlich Maneuver

Situation: 16-year-old Michal was vacationing with his brother and parents in Austria when they heard some commotion from across the restaurant where they were dining. He looked to see what was happening, and saw one man clutching his throat, while another was trying unsuccessfully to administer the Heimlich maneuver.
Reaction: Michal recognized the situation as a choking incident, and tried to quickly think of how to communicate across a language barrier that he was trained to help. Michal pulled his Red Cross certificate from his wallet, and showed it to others who had gathered around the man. Everyone else backed away to give Michal access to the choking man. Michal gave the man three or four abdominal thrusts, and the food was successfully dislodged. Following the incident, the man expressed his gratitude with the only English he could manage, “OK, OK!”

Situation: 12-year-old Nancy was babysitting her two younger cousins when, unbeknownst to her, the younger child slipped a marble into the older brother’s glass of milk. When the boy took a drink, the marble became lodged in his throat.
Reaction: Nancy, who had been trained in the choking rescue in a Babysitter’s Training class at her school, recognized the need for her response. She gave the boy two abdominal thrusts, the marble was successfully dislodged and her cousin was able to breathe again. Nancy’s rapid and correct response is credited with saving her cousin’s life.

Kids Providing CPR

Situation: Claire was just 12 years old when she was a student in a Red Cross Babysitters’ Training Course. She took the class in order to become a better babysitter. Little did she know that she would one day be called a hero for using skills that she learned in that class. Three years later, when Claire was a 15-year-old freshman at Purcell Marian High School, she was home alone with her 12-year-old brother when he suffered a severe asthmatic attack and became unconscious.
Reaction: Claire calmly called 9-1-1 and began rescue breathing on her brother. Today, Nick is alive and healthy and Claire is credited with saving his life. Because of her quick thinking and Red Cross training, a tragedy may have been averted. Claire was awarded the Red Cross Save-A-Life award.

Situation: High school student Emily was at home with her mother and grandmother JoAnn when her grandmother collapsed to the floor.
Reaction: Emily recalled her Red Cross CPR training and quickly checked for breathing and signs of circulation. After sending her mother to phone 9 -1-1, Emily administered rescue breathing and her grandmother began to breathe again on her own. Jo-Ann was breathing and conscious when EMS arrived. Jo-Ann was transported to the hospital to be examined, and later required an angioplasty. Upon reflecting on the incident, Emily said, “It isn’t until stuff like this happens that you realize how important this training is.” Certainly her grandmother echoes the same sentiment.

Learn More

American Red Cross, Cincinnati Chapter
513-579-3000 |
Offering multiple classes for kids, including a baby-sitting course, lifeguard training, and a leadership development camp that includes some CPR training.

Heimlich Heroes
A nationally expanding program that teaches children how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver with a specially-designed doll on which kids can practice what they learn.

Infant Swim Resource
Teaching survival swim lessons for infants and young children using the ISR Self Rescue sequence of swim-float-rest until they reach safety.

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