April 12, 2021

The cheerleader who saved a boy’s life

Do you know what to do if someone is choking? Could you save a life if someone needs you to? We were all taught how to help someone who was choking when we were younger but it is likely that most of us now forget. In addition, the best advice on how to help someone who is choking has changed a lot over the last twenty years. If you don’t know what to do if someone is choking then you should book yourself in for a first aid course as you never know when it will come in handy. A recent story proves this point.

Tyra Winters is a 17-year-old cheerleader who dreams of being a pediatric surgeon someday. She was taking part in a homecoming parade recently when someone started to choke. Tyra was on a float that was going down the main street, she was looking into the crowd with glee as people cheered and waved. Suddenly she heard a woman screaming in horror, she looked around and saw a small child choking, his face was bright red and he was gasping for air. The mother was shouting for someone to help but no one was.

In these moments we never have long to act. Emergencies like this happen in instants and we don’t have long to act before it becomes a tragedy. The people surrounding this woman either hesitated out of fear or because they didn’t know what to do. Tyra knew exactly what to do though. She jumped off the float, ran towards the woman and child, jumped the barrier, and took the child in her arms. 

Tyra took the child in her arms and applied three sharp strong thrusts to his back. This forced the child to cough and brought out the candy that had slipped down his throat. He was saved. Tyra straight away turned and hopped back over the barrier, returning to her float before it got too far away.

If Tyra had not stepped in it is impossible to know if someone else would have. What is clear though is that if no one had stepped in that child would have died. We need to ensure that the majority of people go through first aid training to ensure we have enough people who know what to do in these situations. 

For those reading who are surprised that Tyra slapped the boy’s back with strength instead of using the Heimlich maneuver then it is time you updated your first-aid certificate. While the Heimlich maneuver is well-publicized and was the main method used to save lives many years ago, it is now out of date. It still looks great so many TV sitcoms continue to show it. 

The Heimlich maneuver was retired because unless you are a medical professional you can cause injuries with this technique and instead of saving someone’s life you may injure them permanently. It is for this reason that it is now advised to apply five quick slaps on the back. You must simply bend someone over so that they are leaning on a table or chair, then slap there back with force to try and help them to cough strongly.

Of course, you should not take that two-sentence instructional as a license to help someone if they are choking. If you don’t know the proper technique then you should book yourself in for a first aid class immediately so that you are prepared when the time comes, although we hope that it never does.  Tyra Winters took a first aid class and had the confidence to act at a crucial moment.