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Think Your Kid is Too Young to Learn CPR?

February 1, 2012

A fourth grade student in Utah showed how important it is to keep a cool head and respond appropriately in an emergency. The Daily Herald reported that Carter Helt is a hero after performing the Heimlich maneuver on his best friend, Gary Anderson.

Gary was choking on a jawbreaker he received as a reward for being a good student. Carter saw his friend choking and spun him around. Carter wrapped his arms around Gary and pushed up on his friend’s diaphragm, twice. On the second push, the jawbreaker popped out.

Besides showing how competent a 10 year old can be, this story illustrates another important point: people don’t do the “universal choking sign” as advertised by first aid organizations everywhere.

If you’ve ever taken a CPR class, you learned theHeimlich maneuver (also known as abdominal thrusts) as a way to treat someone with a foreign object stuck in the airway. One of the things you were likely taught — especially if your class included a video portion — was that choking victims will give the universal choking sign (both hands to the throat).

I say there’s no such thing.

One of my daughters choked on a piece of food at dinner one night. She was about 7 or 8 years old. When she couldn’t breathe she got scared and started hopping up and down. Her face turned blue nearly immediately. Before I could react she dislodged it on her own. The whole thing lasted only a few seconds, but it was really frightening.

In this story, Gary reacted the same way to having a jawbreaker in his throat. He started banging on the table and his face turned colors. It’s a good thing Carter was there.

Think your kid is too young to learn CPR? I doubt it. All it takes is to keep your head and react like Carter. Any age can save a life. He’s a perfect role model for kids and adults alike. Great job Carter!

Article by Rob Brouhard published on

‘Time saves lives, Helivac saves both”


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