Lifestyle & Human Interest

Choking Mother Feels Herself Fading Fast, But 12-Year-Old Daughter Saves Her Life


Parents have been known to spend a fair amount of time worrying about children’s consumption of electronic entertainment. I think most of us understand why.

With the rise of smartphones and increasingly coarse movies and television shows, it often seems hard to find entertainment that’s unobjectionable, let alone wholesome. Yet popular media can sometimes teach viewers in general (and children in particular) some important lessons.

I’m not even talking about so-called educational programming. Just viewing stuff on the screen can enlighten the mind — or, in the case of one Pensacola, Florida, area family, save a life.

WEAR meteorologist Kathryn Daniel was enjoying something that countless parents do with their children: She was grabbing a quick bite to eat at a restaurant.

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Now, Daniel admitted that her daughter’s habit of multitasking sometimes drove her nuts. “She loves to ride her hoverboard while watching TV on her phone,” she said.

“This habit really drives me up the wall. No matter what, my daughter is always alert, and thank goodness for that.”

See, while Daniel was eating, something absolutely terrifying happened. “It’s the life of a modern mom,” she explained.

“Sometimes you grab fast food on the run. That night, it was a steak sandwich.

“I hurriedly took my first bite and then could not breathe.” Daniel had choked on a bite of her dinner and suddenly found herself contemplating eternity right in front of her child.

On Facebook, Daniel explained that an employee at the restaurant had no clue what to do to help her. Another man was engrossed in his electronic device, completely oblivious to the life-and-death drama unfolding near him.

“I was petrified,” Daniel said, “and remember thinking, ‘I’m going to die because everyone’s on their phones and aren’t seeing what’s happening.’” But her daughter hadn’t missed a beat.

She’d watched her mother double over, seen how her color began to change. So she grabbed her and started performing the Heimlich maneuver.

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It took more than a few tries. Eventually, though, the offending piece of food popped out, and Daniel found herself able to breathe once more.

“But I shouldn’t have worried,” Daniel said. “My mini-me had it all under control, With the precision of a paramedic, she kept working and finally the food popped out.”

For a while, Daniel’s daughter didn’t want to talk about it. “I mean, I don’t want to look back at it, it was just frightening,” she said.

Eventually, the truth as to how she knew the Heimlich maneuver in the first place came out. She’d learned it from watching the kids’ show “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.”

Daniel said, “One of her favorite [episodes] featured the Heimlich. Two other children, one from Texas and another from California, have credited the same episode with teaching them how to save their friends’ lives.

“I know I owe my life to my 12-year-old daughter. I’m so proud of her calm and poise during an overwhelming situation.”

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
Wheaton College
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