An Open Letter to Mr. Heimlich

Dear Mr. Heimlich,

I’m writing this letter with a thankful heart. I learned your clever maneuver in 8th grade Health Education. As a pimply, permed girl with a bi-level, I never thought I would use The Heimlich Maneuver. I am glad I listened. Because I have used it twice.
This month.
A couple of weeks ago, my baby was munching on toddler crackers shaped like Big Bird’s head. I heard the unmistakable sound of choking. I turned to see my one-year old with a purple face. I scooped her from her high chair, wrapped my hands around her waist and applied pressure.
She vomited the contents of her stomach onto the kitchen table.

This is perhaps the first and only time you will find me thankful for such an occurrence.
And then yesterday, as my kids feasted outside on the BBQ’d spare ribs my hubby had tenderly cared for all day, my daughter ran into the house screaming, “He’s choking.”
We didn’t need to ask who. We turned to see my son, running into the house clutching his throat and gasping for air.
Mr. Heimlich, I must say, I thought of you immediately. You would have been proud to see the giant lump of pork that hit the tile floor, I’m sure.
My life has been crazy lately and I’ve learned to expect the unexpected. So, it is also a relief to know that if I ever find myself choking, I will be prepared:
Yours truly,

Food for the Soul:
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!”- Philippians 2:5-8


  1. 4


    This is my first time leaving a comment! I live in AK and so I get to read your posts a day early. It is still Sunday here and I already read Monday! I love reading about you and your family and you make me feel like I am doing a great job at being a mom. This is because my family runs a lot like your family and it helps to know I’m not the only Mom who feeds her kids cheese balls for lunch!

  2. 5


    Well praise God you didn’t sleep through that 8th Grade Health Class. I’ve never had to do it, and I hope I keep a cool head and handle things just the way you did if it ever does come up.


  3. 6


    Glad you knew what to do and remained calm enough to do it!

    My son faked choking ONCE when he was a preschooler. I jerked him out of his seat and began administering the maneuver. Doesn’t work as anticipated when the victim (patient?) isn’t really choking. He hasn’t tried that little act again! Ha!

    Seriously, VERY thankful your kiddo is okay!

  4. 7


    My best friend, a First Aid instructor, recently self-administered the Heimlich by accident — I want to say on the corner of a high counter? — and she said it was extremely unpleasant.

    But, considering the alternative, absolutely the better option.

  5. 8


    We just had to give the Heinlech a few weeks ago to my 2 year old… truly scary stuff. I was so glad Daddy was home to do it b/c I kept saying, “What do we do? What do we do?” while he calmly applied pressure and helped her vomit. Praise God for the Heinlech and for calm Daddys!!

  6. 13

    Anonymous says

    The American Heart Association and the American Red Cross do NOT recommend the Heimlich maneuver for children one year old or less because its use may result in serious injuries. Both organizations recommend putting the infant across your knee and performing back slaps.

    Also, in 2006 the Red Cross stopped recommending the Heimlich maneuver has the first treatment for choking adults and children over the age of one. They now recommend first performing back slaps.

  7. 14


    Thank God you didn’t panic and you got the job done. That is truly one of my biggest fears. I must get it from my Grandma Alice. If we coughed at her dinner table she would freak out. Even when we were talking and telling her we were okay, she still wasn’t convinced. She would peel EVERY fruit & vegetable before she fed it to us. Yes, even grapes. God love her.
    I miss her. Can ya tell?! ;O)

  8. 15


    Life is so scarey at times, I am glad you were able to overcome this near tragedy. This will hopefully encourage EVERYONE to get out there and CPR training NOW, TODAY. Summer is almost here and the number one cause of death of children under five is drowning! Let’s all make a commitment to become educated about saving lives. Ok, I offer the challenge, let’s make make the month of May the month of lifesaving. This post is the inspiration, anyone willing to take the challenge?

  9. 16


    Eeeeeesshhh….. Glad you remembered, hon. I have only had 2 experiences with doing it. Once, I applied it to myself just weeks after getting a CPR course in Brownies. I was choking on a butterscotch candy. Popped that sucker across the room. Scared the crap out of my mom… And I had to do the swiping of the mouth and such but no Heimlich to my daughter as she gagged on soft plastic. Several thousand dollars worth of xrays later, and she was just fine…

  10. 17


    I cannot believe someone can make me laugh at the fact that two or their children had near death experiences in one week. You would have had to come and visit me in a padded room somewhere. Of course, come to think of it I am always just one little incident from that peaceful, quiet little place!!! Thanks for sharing and making “manic Monday” a little easier to bear!

  11. 20


    Two times in one month and you are still sane to tell about it! Scary. I’ve only had to do that one of my brothers, not sure how I’d do with one of my kids.

  12. 29


    Good for you for saving the lives of your children. Kudos for paying attention in class. I love how you are able to find the humor in something otherwise serious.

  13. 30


    I had to do it to my oldest dauther when she was about 2. Yea, she threw up all over me and the floor, too, but I hugged her so tight and I could NOT let go. Puke and all.

  14. 31

    Amanda Eck says

    ugh! I hate the choking thing- it freaks me out- I even freak out if I see or hear someone elses kid choke- i want to run over to them and help!

  15. 33


    My middle son required a lot of heimlich like manuevers until he finally stopped shoving everything into his mouth. Its a bit scary every time it happened. Fortunately I’d taken a CPR and first aid class while I was pregnant with him. I think he was testing to see if I’d paid attention in the class.

  16. 37


    You DO blog about the most interesting (and gross) stuff. Really. I’m thankful that I’ve never had to use the heimlich. 8th grade was a LOOOONG time ago for me, so thanks for the pictures- I needed a recap:)

  17. 38


    Wow! You sure act quick on your feet. I am always scared I will have to perform that maneuver. You are pretty awesome…and I hope you NEVER have to do it again.

  18. 45


    So scary. We’ve had a bunch of similar incidents around here. My son was choking on ham at my in-laws house. He’d been in a back bedroom eating, when he started choking and ran into the dining room clutching his throat. We were all sitting around the table. His lips were turning blue. I jumped up and instinctively did the manuever at which point he threw up all over the floor. It sometimes seems like every moment in our life was prepping us for motherhood!

  19. 48


    You GO GIRL! I was an EMT and I still panick when my child is choking, with the exception of the last time when I simply said, “Jesus, please remove this from her throat,” and out it came. Praise God you held it together.

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