Baby Safety Class

I was pumping my hand into the chest of the dummy kid with purpose and concentration. The instructor gave us a narrative, “Now you hear the sirens…” I was near tears. I was getting so wrapped up in my faux rescue I was nearly shaking.

I was still waiting for the choking talk. It had been 90 minutes since my save a little life class had started, and I was there primarily because of that.

Two weeks ago I was at my mom’s. Rex was on my lap, and my sister Cecily and I were yakking away. Rex was teething on some pizza crust. When he started to choke. Or nearly choke… cough/choke hybrid. Cecily started to push up on his lower belly, I stuck my finger in his throat to make him gag. A combo of the gagging and the coughing produced the pizza crust. They usually get soft in his mouth, but this had a burnt part that baby saliva couldn’t melt.

Rex started crying (a good sign), and I passed him to my sister so I could collapse for a second in hysterics. “He is fine Daphne, he is fine,” Cecily said.

“I know, but I was so scared.” I pulled it together and took Rex to nurse him.

Cecily, always wise, said, “We should take a baby first aid class, because I think what we did was wrong.”

Apparently it was. I learned so much in the class I can’t scratch the surface here. And I’ve taken it twice before. Once in college and once when I was pregnant with Vivien.


Did you know that beats we are now suppose to perform CPR on adult or child match the beats to the Bee Gee’s “Stayin Alive”? True and ironic.

Did you know that you shouldn’t dial 911 on a cell phone? Can take forever. Landline is better. Or program a local police station into your phone for emergencies.

That your kids should NEVER eat in the car. We heard some scary stories about that. One child who nearly died in his car seat on a piece of chicken (a bystander in the parking lot saved his life) and another child who did die eating a tiny piece of apple in her car seat. There isn’t enough time to react.

And my car has way too many cheerios on the floor anyway.

The instructor said, “Has anyone ever seen a child choke?” I raised my hand.

I told the story and, of course, I started crying. The nice RN teacher came and patted me. Then we went to work tipping the kid over, whacking him on the back. The imaginary grape came out, and all was fine.

I went home and drank wine.

6 thoughts on “Baby Safety Class

  1. OK: here are my horrible choking stories:

    my 3 yr old son snuck a WHOLE grape off of a party platter. Was silently choking, NO SOUND. And my friend saw him just standing in the butler’s pantry, with wide eyes. She, thank God, knew enough about what to do.

    Years ago, I was at a rummage sale, and there were so many brand new baby boy clothes there. I asked the 9 or 10 yr old girl there why there were SO many brand new baby clothes. She answered, matter of factly (still gives me chills, “Oh, my cousin choked on a penny when he was a baby.” I dropped the clothes and ran.

  2. My husband and I took an Infant CPR class when I was pregnant and they covered choking as well. I insisted that we take it because it took us so long to finally get pregnant that I wanted to do everything I could to make sure my miracle stayed safe. When my son was just starting to eat those Gerber Puff things he choked, and even knowing what to do it was the scariest moment ever.

  3. I’d like to take one of those classes before I have a baby.

    I’m bound to learn something better than holding the kid upside down by the ankle and jamming a finger up their throat – what my mother did for me!

  4. Hubby is a fire fighter/first responder. They responded to a call of child choking on a piece of Leggo. He died :((( , they were too late.

    Although I have taken first aid numerous times I insist the kids do not choke on ‘my shift’. Best do it when their father is home.

    So true about first aid constantly changing Daphne. I read recently that during CPR you just do chest compressions.. less emphasis on the breaths. Time to retake my first aid…

  5. My mom is a certified CPR teacher, I’m a doula…she was not getting enough business (cuz she goes through the Red Cross, most of their stuff is FREE), so I suggested she get all doula’d up, too…and make that a part of her service. She’s not finished yet, and she’s already getting good referrals for people who WANT this.

    I started doing CPR & First AID when I was 14. I babysat, so I felt it was important to be able to do something until better trained help could arrive.

    I have twice had to stop choking in an infant & toddler…I have never had to perform CPR, but my best friend (who I dragged to the classes with me) DID have to do it when a child fell into a pool during a family event. 17 years old, in a group of 50 people, mostly adults and young children…and she was the ONLY person who knew what to do.

  6. Thank goodness she knew what to do and could act. Impressed that at 14 you thought to take the class. When I was a youngin baby sitting it never crossed my mind!
    Amy, the leggo story is terrible. But, I realized I was concentrating on foods. Not that I let Rex hold small things, but brother, there is so much to watch out for.
    A- terrrible story. hate those dirty coins.

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