In Oklahoma earlier this month, two boys -- Hunter, 10, and Carter, 9 -- were playing together like young boys will. They were giggling, roughhousing, and eating gummy worms, when all of a sudden Hunter knew something was wrong.
He knew it was wrong because his best friend, Carter, was doing the international sign for choking. At first Hunter thought he was joking, but he quickly realized it was the real deal and sprang into action.
After performing the Heimlich maneuver five times, the worm came out, and Carter was fine. He very literally saved his best friend's life -- not something most 10-year-olds can say.
Fortunately in this case, both boys' mothers are registered nurses and had taught them the life-saving technique and the international sign for choking. Too many children don't know either, and this situation could have easily turned tragic.
Choking is one of my big worries, and I'm constantly nagging my children to "chew it up good," "sit down until you're finished eating," and "that bite is too big!" Also, I have no idea how old they have to be before I'll ever feel comfortable letting them eat if I'm not in the room. Sometimes I let my son, who is almost 8, but I think about all the what ifs constantly and don't go far when he is. With my toddler daughter, I never leave her even for a few minutes.
But there's preschool, and the crowded, noisy, grade school lunchroom, and plenty of places where our children will eat without constant supervision, so like these mothers did, the best thing we can do is teach them what to do if they see someone choking and what to do if they themselves are choking. Hopefully it's information they'll never need.
As for Hunter and Carter, they don't think it was a huge deal. Carter told Fox 23, "It was kinda scary, but that was the past, and this is the future." Such wise boys.
Have you taught your children the Heimlich maneuver and/or the international sign for choking? How old do you think they have to be to eat alone?
Image via Rein Rache/Flickr