Leah Porritt, a mom from Baltimore, knew something was very wrong when her typically chatty little girl stopped responding to her questions in the bathtub that was recently drained of water. After asking her daughter to help clean up her bath toys, Leah stepped our of the room for all of two seconds to help her son get his pajamas on. She told POPSUGAR that there's nothing more unsettling than quiet kids, so it's no surprise she went into a full-blown panic when she didn't hear the usual "I OK Momma" from her toddler when she asked how she was doing.
"When she suddenly stopped singing and didn't respond to that question, my heart dropped a little. The moments that followed seemed like they were in slow motion and lasted forever — although I'm sure it was only the matter of seconds. I know I got up quickly and peeked around the door into the bathroom. My daughter's back was to me and her arms were extended . . . the second I laid eyes on her I knew something was wrong. I'm not sure when the panic set in because I really wasn't even sure what exactly was wrong at first — but the panic most definitely set in," she said.
Once Leah finally got to the bathtub, she was faced with any parent's worst nightmare: her daughter was choking on a small toy. Leah realized she needed help fast, and unfortunately, her CPR skills were rusty at best since she hadn't attended a training session since her son was born eight years ago.
"Don't just take a class and check it off your list. Review the techniques often, go online, and refresh your memory often."
Thankfully, Leah's neighbor, Mrs. T, is a daycare provider and knew exactly how to respond when the panicked mother came barreling up the steps with her daughter in her arms. After a few agonizing seconds, her toddler's airway was totally clear, and Leah could breath easy again.
"The toy that had lodged itself in her throat had absolutely NO BUSINESS coming out. I'm not even sure how it got lodged in her throat to begin with because it seemed too large to do so," she said, adding that, "She has never been one to put toys in her mouth and at 3-and-a-half she knows better now."
Leah's choking scare was enough for her to seriously get up-to-date on her CPR certification, and now she's urging other parents to do the same.
"I think it's important that parents really become comfortable with CPR and choking relief techniques," said Leah. "Don't just take a class and check it off your list. Review the techniques often, go online, and refresh your memory often. Copy your certification book pictures/instructions and keep them up on the refrigerator. There is something about seeing your child turn white and blue that has the great potential to mess with your reactions."
She also says that even if you haven't been exactly good about getting recertified every few years, it's nothing to be embarrassed about. "I've had an overwhelming response from parents who have been in similar scary situations with their children, and sadly, some that did not turn out as great as mine. Don't be too embarrassed to ask questions and ask to review techniques until you're comfortable."