Woman who saved baby from choking on Thanksgiving inspires us to revisit the Heimlich

Illustration for article titled Woman who saved baby from choking on Thanksgiving inspires us to revisit the Heimlich
Photo: Radist (iStock)

Sure, we’d all like to think we could step up when crisis arises. But when was your last CPR or Red Cross first aid class? I vaguely remember the two-finger CPR method from the baby-safety class I had to take when I was pregnant, and I thank my lucky stars that I never had to perform the Heimlich on my kids when they were tiny—although I was so terrified of them choking, they were almost a year old before I even let them have Cheerios.


Fortunately for the Jarvis family in North Carolina, when their 7-month-old baby started choking on mashed potatoes during Thanksgiving dinner at a Golden Corral restaurant, a few quick-thinking individuals were on hand. According to WLOS in Asheville, first a waitress responded and yelled out for help. Then a woman named Deborah Rouse heard the call, and fortunately knew that the baby version of the Heimlich maneuver, which should be administered from the back after the baby is flipped onto its stomach.

Hannah Marie Jarvis, the baby’s mother, praised Rouse in a Facebook post: “I will never forget the many tears that were shed today in Golden Corral as this angel stepped in to preform the Heimlich maneuver that saved my baby from choking to death.”

Well done to Rouse (who has five kids of her own). This story is also a good reminder for all of us to get that Red Cross card renewed and maybe, while you’re scrolling through cat videos and the like, take a few minutes to review the proper procedures for different types of Heimlich maneuvers. You never know when it might come in handy, and it’s much better to have that knowledge than to be without it.

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.



Mom flipped me over, held me by the ankles and kneed my back a few times - this was pre-Heimlich ubiquity - after I aspirated a slice of roast beef at a family meal. I had to make the trek to the adult table and get her attention by pulling on her sleeve, because I couldn’t make a sound.