Hero teacher uses Heimlich manoeuvre to save nine-year-old boy choking on bottle cap

Nine-year-old was choking on bottle cap after trying to open it with his mouth

Sravasti Dasgupta
Wednesday 13 April 2022 17:29
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Teacher saves 9-year-old student from choking

A New Jersey teacher’s quick thinking in class saved a nine-year-old from a potentially life-threatening episode.

On 6 April, Robert, a third grade student at East Orange Community Charter School was in his math class when he attempted to open a water bottle. Unable to open it with his hands, Robert tried to use his mouth.

“And then I started it with my teeth and then I was squeezing it a little and then the water pushed the cap to my throat,” the child told ABC7.

Footage of the incident shows Robert choking on the bottle cap. He tries to cough it out and then rushes to a basin to spit it out.

Moments later, the footage shows Robert running to his teacher and gesturing frantically.

“I was going to the sink trying to cough it out and I couldn’t so I ran very quickly to Ms Jenkins,” he said.

Janiece Jenkins said the child who ran up to her could not explain what had happened. “He was pointing to his neck and he’s all flustered,” she said.

“He can’t talk so then I just turn him around I perform the Heimlich manoeuvre and here we are,” she added.

The Heimlich manoeuvre is an emergency first aid measure for upper airwave obstructions involving a series of abdominal thrusts to dislodge foreign objects that are stuck in a person’s throat causing them to choke.

Ms Jenkins then made sure that the child was alright and examined his mouth.

“Once he was OK and I made sure there was nothing in his mouth, it took a second, I breathed, I looked around my classroom, looked at my students and I was like, ‘OK’,” Ms Jenkins said.

After the cap was removed, Robert can be seen shouting in the video: “It’s out! It’s out! It’s out!”

The school authorities also called Robert’s parents to inform them about the incident. Robert said that his mother had asked him if he was required to be taken to the hospital but he felt it was not needed due to Ms Jenkins’ efforts.

Ms Jenkins said the school staff had been trained in emergency first aid to help students in such cases.

In a statement, school principal Tracey Watkins said: “So right now with new staff coming in, I would say 95% of our team is trained in CPR, EpiPen, first aid response.”

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