It has been almost 10 months since my daughter choked on a toy.
Ten months. The moments that passed from when the toy went in her mouth to when it ejected onto the floor are still crystal clear in my mind. I'm still not sure how much time passed in between. Perhaps a couple minutes at most; yet the entire three years of her life flashed before my eyes in those few minutes. Read about those moments here.
It's not supposed to happen to a mother, right? I'm vigilant. I'm careful. I remember removing small toys and items when my children were crawling babies. I was right there. There was no water in the tub. She was three and hadn't put a toy in her mouth for years.
When various parenting websites and even Love What Matters began to reach out to republish or write about this story, I was so excited that my message would get out there. I thought, what better way to encourage parents to get the training they may need if God forbid, they would ever find themselves in the same position I was?
I did my best to ignore the nasty comments. Actually, scratch that. I didn't ignore them because while the internet trolls were hiding behind their screens, furiously typing at their keyboards with their hearts frozen in their chests, they were completely missing the point of my story.
And then this happened. And my heart broke for this poor Mama. This Mama who was also right there. Who tried to save her baby. Who had to watch as he grew his wings and flew away. This Mama who was not as incredibly lucky as I was.
Shortly after my experience, I reached out to my local fire department training center and got in touch with some awesome former firefighters and certified CPR trainers. With their help and collaboration, we've offered two courses at my school; giving both my co-workers and the family members of our students access to learning these valuable skills.
Yet it's not enough.
Guys, this can happen to any of us. Choking can happen while we are in the room. It can happen despite our best attempts to chop up food or throw away small toys. It can happen with our children sitting in our laps. We can be the most vigilant mothers in the world. AND IT CAN STILL HAPPEN.
Please, please, please put yourself in a better situation. Learn how to help your child. Learn how to help your family members. Learn how to help a stranger. You will never know when you need these skills.
Find a class, sign up, and then share my story so other parents can do the same. Let's get this message out there.
Please go to the following links for nation-wide help in finding a CPR class near you. Keep in mind that most local fire departments and local hospitals offer courses too.
And most importantly- keep your babies safe!
The American Red Cross