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5-year-old boy saves his little brother from choking to death

POSTED: July 10, 2017 9:00 a.m.
Wendy Jessen/

He learned life-saving first aid at school. Would you be able to save a life?

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If someone was choking on a piece of food or another object, would you know what to do? Would your child know what to do?

One 5-year-old boy knew just what to do when his younger brother began choking.

One scary snack time

Oliver Bevans and his 3-year-old brother, Stanley, were at their grandmother's house eating. Their grandmother left the room briefly and that's when Stanley began choking on a meatball, according to the BBC.

Because Oliver had recently had some first aid training at school just the week before, he knew just what to do. "He choked on a meatball first and then I smacked him on the back three times. The meatball came out and then he was better" Oliver said in the interview. Of course, once Stanley was safe, the young boy then told his grandmother what had happened.

Oliver the hero

His family calls him a hero. "I don't think he will ever realize what he has done for his brother," said his mother Amy. Like others, Amy is extremely glad (but surprised) that her young boy was able to save a life.

What would you do?

Would you be able to act calmly like Oliver? Would you know what to do if someone was choking?

The Red Cross recommends these steps for choking:

  • First, give the person five back blows — aim for the space between the shoulder blades, and hit firmly with the heel of your hand.
  • Next, perform the Heimlich maneuver (this process is described below).
  • Until the object is dislodged, alternate between five blows and five thrusts.
The American Heart Association suggests you can do only the abdominal thrusts (or Heimlich maneuver) to help a choking person, without the blows to the back. Here's the process described in detail:

  • Stand behind the choking person and wrap both arms on either side of their waist. Slighty tilt the person forward.
  • Find the person's naval and make a firm fist with one your hands. Place your first just above their naval.
  • Wrap your other hand tightly around your formed fist. Perform quick, upward thrusts while pressing hard into the abdomen — it should feel like you are trying to life the person up and off the ground.
  • Do this five times — if the person is still choking, switch to five back blows before coming back to the Heimlich.
Some of these techniques can be performed by children on other children, as Oliver demonstrated.

Learn to save a life

If you would like to learn hands-on how to perform these life saving techniques and other first aid, contact your local hospital or Red Cross. Sometimes workplaces will offer first aid training as well.

Look into classes for children and adults. You can make it a family night, get a group of friends together, or even invite the whole neighborhood or community to take part. You never know when you'll need to use more in-depth first aid to prevent a tragedy ... You'll also never know when your child may need to use this skill.

There's no need to panic when you are prepared with the knowledge of what to do in scary situations.
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