My Child Choked: Personal Stories From LifesSwell Readers…



My personal experience was scary – but we were lucky. Waipuna is happy and healthy and it served as a learning moment that I will never forget. I’m hoping that whomever reads or watches my blog will be motivated to act… to take a CPR / First aid class, be vigilant, take preventative measures to ensure this doesn’t happen to you.


One way, I’ve learned a lot through this experience was reading YOUR comments about your experiences. I have compiled a few of them and listed them below. I also wrote a blog – 10 Seemingly Obvious Choking Hazards You May Have Never Thought of... and, you can hear my story by clicking here > How I Saved My Baby From Choking. 


Lenore P. Duffany  I was walking up the street and a car pulled over and two people got out of the car and pulled a child from the back seat who is choking they continued to smack him on the back as I was walking up to them I went immediately and grabbed both of his arms and pulled them up over his head like signaling for a touchdown and the object came out of his mouth it was a piece apple….They must have been the child’s grandparents and they didn’t even speak English they never said thank you they rushed him back in the car and took off. And I reflect upon that day every once in awhile of how I was in the right place at the right time….I never had a life saving or baby cpr class….but now I’m definately thinking I should tooo.


bleaver808 God she’s okay. I had a very similar experience with my third child…I thought he was gone in my arms and I started screaming Jesus name over him…his color came back and he began to breathe again in my arms before the ambulance came… I was traumatized and maybe even over reacted…because the incident was exactly on the one year anniversary of my 3 year old niece choking and passing away from a hot dog incident…they were cut up pieces of hot dog for my nephew that she snuck and shoved down her throat without chewing because she didn’t want to get caught…anything can happen…just hug and love on them every day!


Terra Miller  My daughter (19 months old), caught a cold recently and so she would every so often start coughing in her sleep, stop, then go back to sleep. But I had an incident that I couldn’t see her, but i could hear her coughing at first i was like oh she stopped coughing she is okay, but i still got up to check on her. And when i got to her she looked like she was choking, so i looked in her mouth and she had thrown up from coughing, i was so scared but quickly sat her up so it could come out. But the whole time after i couldnt stop thinking what would of happened if i didnt get up to check on her.


swisssteak  I’m feeling you! When Gemma was 9 months old she found a bar of surf wax and bit a chunk out of it, swallowed it and began choking. I too swept my finger in her throat and pushed it further She couldn’t breathe and was turning colors, I called 911 and they told me to flip her and face her head lower than her torso and do back blows, milk was coming out of her nose, but I kept blowing her back and eventually the wax flew out! OMG scariest moments everrrrrr So glad we both had good outcomes with these little girls


Michaellyn Blando Burke We were visiting my in-laws at Christmas when my oldest son was 2. We’re all sitting around the dining table eating dinner when my Father-in-law came home. He’s an ENT surgeon who also has a practice at Children’s Hospital. He walked into the dining room and threw a MRI across the table. With tears in his eyes and anger in his voice he turns to my husband and me and says, “Promise me you will never feed my grandson a raw carrot. Promise me!” He just came home from doing an emergency surgery on a toddler who was choking on a piece of carrot. From my FIL’s experience, carrots, popcorn, and peanuts are the worst offenders with toddlers.


marissa_purcell  I will share with Mel n my parents. One of my biggest fears. I hav had the worst past two weeks during week days being away on oahu finishing my masters amd I always fear these types of accidents. Always good to be aware and know what to do. Good job mommy. Awesome post. People should be aware of band aids too after shots. I had a friend whose child choke on ot right after appt in the car going home. Took it right off…. one year old


Idahlee Keishelle Padilla Barroga My toddler was playing balloons with siblings when he was 1year old,i worked and family member was watching them,i went pick up my baby and took him home.. he wasnt fuzzy or anything,but the next day he made a poop (tmi) and i know he was uncomfortable,when he was done i checked his diaper and found a latex balloon.. well it was too late but it freaked me out knowing my son swallowed a latex balloon without me knowing!! I felt so guilty that i had to work and couldnt watch him and knowing that something wrong couldve happen if it didnt come out in his system or get choked on it!:-(


Maile Medeiros Corpuz  My toddler was playing with a plastic hanger while I was folding the laundry and I didn’t think anything of it. Out of nowhere I hear a gasping, choking sound and I look over and the hook of the plastic hanger is lodged in his throat. I didn’t know what to do, tried to nicely pull it out but that did t work and now I’m panicked so I pull it harder and out it comes but so does a whole pile of blood that covers my shirt and his. I run with him to our landlords and they see me covered in blood crying with my baby in my arms. They call 911 and we have a fire truck, two police officers and an ambulance respond. Of course I’m questioned along with my then 8 year old son to make sure it was an accident. Long story short, he was fine and the blood that came out was from me pulling hard and scraping the inside of his mouth and it stopped bleeding soon after. Scary situation and I felt guilty for a long time. Moms always feel the guilt after something like this happens. It’s so hard not to feel that way. You’re a good mom Malika! Thanks for being real and sharing the good the bad and the ugly.


Robin Lucas Patricio Oh Malika, I just saw your video message and my heart goes out to you….I know what you felt and what you are going through because I also experienced my child choking…my son was about 5 years old and he choked on a cube of ice… Now I am a nurse aide and I had taken CPR and first aid numerous times before the incident, but all my training went out the window and I panicked…. It was a good thing there was another person at the family gathering we were at that was trained in CPR/ first aid…. Thank God that the ice cube was expelled and he was alright… As for me, I too felt guilt and suffered from nightmares and repeated visions of my son choking…My son is 23 years old now and I am always grateful and thank God for each and every day for the outcome!


Melissa Kreutner Happened to me a few times now- yesterday a raisin got stuck- I did the finger sweep too and it worked but I could see why it’s not best. I read an article saying to throw away your change too- a baby was lost choking on a coin, not worth its value, so now I always say keep the change so it doesn’t come home with me!


Christina Cuscianna Noda It is the worst feeling ever to witness a little one in distress!!! First time I met my stepdaughter she was a toddler and her mom let us take her to a family members house. She was jumping on the bed with a Starburst in her mouth, I didn’t give it to her, and she started choking. I was able to get it out but I kept thinking that her mom trusted me with her daughter and she could have died. Now my stepdaughter loves to hear the story about the time she puked all over me after I got the candy out. I’ll never forget it. I’m proud of you that you kept your cool and saved Wai!!!


Danielle Amon-Wilkins My daughter nearly choked on some carrots when she was younger and believe me when I tell you I know the terror. I did the same thing – flipped her over and whacked her back until she spit it out. I always watch her closely when she eats and like you, luckily I heard her. Good reminders in life to cherish each day, not judge other parents, and to always be prepared. Thank you for sharing your story. Happy that all is well!


Wendy Corden Anderson Thanks for sharing. Years ago I made a similar mistake myself with a family members child. She was choking on a piece of apple and I instantly reacted like you did, and went to scoop it out with my pinky and they yelled at me to stop. I was so upset that I could have shoved it in further. I honestly had no idea that had changed. As the last cpr and first aid class I took I learned the hook and retrieve. It totally makes sense but I just reverted right back to what I had learned. So glad Waiwai is ok and momma we all make mistakes when we are raising our kids. It happens we learn from it and as you just did, we teach others so they don’t repeat our mistakes. Hug you baby and yourself…you’re an awesome mama.


Kalani Joseph Main thing baby is doing well, and you & your ‘Ohana is okay! I remember my brother was about 4yrs. old and he choked on something, luckily my dad being a Honolulu firefighter was there to do what he was trained to do, he actually saved my brother who at that time was turning blue. And, it’s no way to make the front page news of the Star Bulletin back then in early 60′s. But, from that point on my dad trained & instructed first-aid and CPR. and other life saving techniques both private as well as an in-house trainer for the HFD. You’re a good mother Malika, and a Big Mahalo for sharing your story!


Feora Cadina My now ten year old choked on the little plastic piece that breaks away from the top of a grocery plastic bag (that center piece that normally stays attached to the bag holder in the store) when he was 9 months old. My husband and I returned from celebrating our anniversary to hear what happened while we were out. It was the scariest thing, like you, I replayed in my head “what could’ve happened vs what did happen.” Thankfully my father-in-law was able to see it and pulled it from the back of his mouth. Something so small, that you probably wouldn’t even notice was on the floor, my curious little boy put in his mouth.


Ashley Akana My daughter is 9 months and she can see everything on the ground, from a piece of paper to loose hair. My son ate chips and left the clip on the ground, It was my job to make sure it wasn’t in her play area. I caught her putting the small metal clip in her mouth! Thank you for sharing, it’s absolutely terrifying. It’s nothing to judge and anything can happen. I’m glad you got to her in time


Iolana Espaniola Brewster Thank you for sharing your experience. Great reminder for all. My daughter once choked on a piece of nori ( the thicker sheet ones) i remembered a class i took years ago and like you did mouth sweep but i didnt work. Then flipped her around and pushed upwards with my fist till it got dislodged. Absolutely traumatizing! I kept thinking thank God i was here and not her grama who may have not. Know what to do. Great reminder to all to take a class. Thank you malika , so happy to hear she is ok.


Tiki Kahananui  I was babysitting an infant about 6 months old with her teenage sister and friends. The teens were excited being together, as they happen to be eating a large bag of Fritos on the bed while the baby was laying on the same bed face down on her stomach, apparently a good size piece of Frito fell onto the bed and the baby put it in her mouth…next thing you know I hear choking sounds. I had to act fast, turning her upside down clearing her passage, helping her regurgitate. The chip fell out of her mouth but as a result she cried hysterically. You can’t freak out..but I called the parents first, and mother asked me tons of questions. Teenage daughter was scared when she put mom on FaceTime. A half hour during the ordeal, mom had calmed down, including both children (baby and older sister). I also assured mom to call me as much as she needed to when the everything settled. Baby was safe and slept in my arms until mom came home from her important event.


Carol Aldred Great job of saving her life!!! Completely traumatic event for sure. When my daughter was at that “chocking hazard” age my avocado tree which overhangs my deck dropped hundreds of perfect choking size avos on my deck. I was a mess trying to keep her off the deck and those avos cleaned up! It’s always something -each age has it’s hazards. Mine is about to get her license this week. Thank-you for the courage to post such an honest and raw video. And for renewing your CPR skills and getting the word out.


Michael Dionne I am so glad that everything turned out alright. You are not alone, most of us have gone through scares like that. My nephew was only a couple of weeks old and I was holding him while sister was napping. He stopped breathing right in my arms. I hollered for my sister, and used my finger to open his airway, and he started breathing again. Scary moment.


mauiphotogirl You are an amazing Mom. Thank you for sharing. My baby choked on a banana chunk and turned blue. Happened in an instant. Thankfully I knew what to do, just like you. It never occurred to me to call 911 either. Had to act. You saved her.


isaiahssong  Many of us have been there for sure. We’ve called 911 in panic before, when we couldn’t help our daughter choking years ago. Because we too felt like we were just pushing it further back. Paramedics came and managed to remove a thick piece of plastic wrapper from the back of her mouth. It was scary indeed! Mahalo Ke Akua! God bless you and your littles ones.❤️


boogieupprod  I don’t know you personally I want to thank you for being brave and for using your experience to let others know how scary, traumatic and quickly things can happen with a child. I’m so very glad that you kicked in mom mode and saved your little angel. My son at 4 swallowed a pebble and I went into panic mode but knew I had to get it out and than God it worked. My heart was in my throat and I felt responsible for him choking but accidents happen and it just makes you want to learn everything possible to help you know what to do in every case but part from going to classes instinct and the love for your child will do everything possible. Very powerful message you are sharing. Thank you again!


leesanwilly02 Watching this without starting to cry omg. My older son was 7 when he tried to hide a 50cent coin by swallowing it and came running gagging and turning blue I hit his back so hard in a panic it flew clear across the room & second son (10mo. At the time) and I had a very similar experience to this but with a hair tie. I don’t know how he got ahold of it and it took what seemed to be forever to get it out but thankfully I managed to get it. It made me so afraid of any little thing being around my babies that with my 1mo old I’m so paranoid about things around her. And yes mommies do almost always blame themselves for some time after. I still look back and it breaks my heart thinking what could have been. But thank you for sharing your own experience and so happy to see your beautiful baby is doing well… Apologies for the long comment. But god bless you and your beautiful ohana. ((Hugs))


donalei86 Thank goodness she’s okay!! I felt the same guilt when my 6 yr old was 2 at the time and he choked on a nickel!! Luckily the gag reflex pushed it down and stopped it from getting stuck. It did come out two weeks later.. Mahalo Keakua


kidfoodideas  Our firstborn choked on a penny some years ago. You are not alone and it could happen to ANYONE. Thank you for sharing. xo


Tonja Pe Benito We were in Hana with my 1st son & he was 7 months old and choked so quickly he turned blue, I have years of first aid training and still was hard not to panic. I started baby hymlic and luckily there was a nurse across the table and grab him and hit him super hard while upside down which what I was doing but was afraid to hit too hard. Food came up and we both cried. It’s good to know how to handle situations as they do happen. Scary when it’s your own.


CoreyandAbs Rosa had a scare while my son was eating strawberries:( i’m a CNA and knew what to do, so i immediately performed the necessary procedures but it still didnt work. I ran him to my husband for help & that still stook a whilehe was turning blue and we eventually got it out. I was ball crying and we were holding each other tight!! my 1st thought was, an ambulance wouldnt have made it in time & i just cried some more but being educated and reacting in a calm manner really helps


Hannah King Stern My son choked a few weeks ago on… food!!! The same as you… It happened SO FAST!! I am not the ‘worrying’ type of person, even with my kids, but it was really fucking scary! I don’t know the proper things to do with a baby choking (he’s 21mos) but luckily, my sister, husband and I were able to get it out. I was pretty shook up after. Ugh!! 


A similar situation just happened to me last wk – but with my little dog. I came home and gave her a larger piece of chicken thinking she would chew it. She tried to swallow it instead. I was in the other room and heard a single weird sound – like a loud chicken cluck. I almost ignored it. Thankfully I didn’t. I went into the other room and saw my Pom face down and paws spread open. Her tongue was blue and eyes rolled back. Unlike you, I had no training. But knew a blue tongue meant no oxygen. I wasn’t even sure if she was still alive. I blew air into her mouth 4x and she wasn’t moving..even turned her upside down (without hitting her back like you did)..nothing was in her mouth. I think she was actually gone as she was totally lifeless… and in shock I put her down. Right then this force from in her pushed the chicken to her mouth with a slight jerk – I pulled it out and blew more air into her – then she slowly came back. Like your baby, my dog is the most precious thing to me. I can only thank God as nothing else could explain what happened. Someone posted your story on fb and I couldn’t help but share what happened to me last wk Fri.

Much love! Malia


Lei says Monday, June 6th 2016 at 9:33 pm

Thank you so much for sharing. What a scary situation and something I could definitely take notes on. My daughter is 6 months old and is in the stage of always putting whatever she can get a hold of into her mouth. Like you, I put her down with nothing in her crib but occasionally she wears headbands in her car seat which she will fall asleep in as well. A couple of times I’ve caught her chewing on the flower attached to the headband. I will definitely be more careful about the things I place on her head. Mahalo!


Anonymous says Tuesday, June 7th 2016 at 8:44 am

Thank you for sharing! Something similar happened to me as well with my first son about 7 years ago. He was playing in the floor and I was in the kitchen doing something when I heard him start to gag and choke. We, too, are pretty vigilant when it comes to not leaving small things around but something in my gut told me the way he was coughing sounded different. I ran to the living room and saw he was gagging on something. I didn’t know what to do either. I had never taken an infant cpr class and was home alone. My first thought was “should I call someone for help? 911? My neighbor?” But realized something had to happen now not wait for help. So just like you, I rememenered I had heard somewhere to flip the baby over, hold him like a football, and hit his back to try to dislodge anything stuck. It worked. I swiped his mouth and found a piece of plastic covering, like a wrapper from the outside of a cd. My step daughter had unwrapped something earlier and I guess had left a piece of it on the ground. And babies will find any little thing and put it in their mouths. You did everything right and didn’t panic. Know that it happens to many of us moms.


Sissy K says Friday, June 10th 2016 at 8:43 pm

I agree with a few previous comments, your face tells all. I am a Nana who babysits my now 29 month old grand-daughter. A few months ago I learned about a toddler, similar in age to my grand-daughter who was being cared for by a family member. This child was given cut portions of grapes with the skin intact and choked. My grand-daughter has a tendency to bite once and swallow, so we are constantly telling her to chew with facial expressions to show her.

I am truly guessing, but I understand the caregiver did attempt a Heimlich type maneuver, some food did get expelled but not sufficiently to allow airflow. I do not want to second guess any one and their actions and I am retired from a career as a first responder so my reaction might offer me ten-fold options to try. Those are all important, but not as important as calling 9-1-1 while you are running thru the list of things to do.

Let me add to anyones anxiety because while you are delivering blows to the back, checking if the item has cleared, calling for help, keep in mind, a land line (your house phone) will provide emergency responders with your address in the event you are alone. If not your cell phone carrier should have your most current billing address info and the ability thru enhanced 9-1-1 to locate you via your address. This is multi-tasking that truly means life or death results.

I enrolled my grand-daughter and I in a Tiny Tots programs in Mililani where better than half of the children in attendance are in the care of their grandparent. I’ve taken the responsibility to ask our program director about providing info for infant rescue training because I can see where precious seconds could become minutes of our loved one being deprived of oxygen based on my observations of these caregivers.

Diligence is necessary, in how we prepare food items for children, no matter the age as well as monitoring items that could become choke hazards. Constant supervision, I will repeat, constant, because seconds are truly all that we have. I’ve wanted to shout this to so many caregivers and I am grateful that you shared this heart wrenching experience with us as a reminder of how precious life is.


Mitzi Andrea Hi Malika, sorry about your tragic incident, and grateful for a positive outcome. My mo’opuna is 15 months old, and this past Thursday I too had a traumatic incident with her. I hope this helps you and others. I was giving my mo’opuna a bath and when she was done we both reached our arms out so I could take her out of the tub. As she reached for me one of her feet slipped from under her and she hit the edge of the tub very hard. When I saw the gash and the blood coming out, I panicked. I’m usually a calm person during crisis, but this was my mo’o. We quickly drove her to the ER, where she received 4 stitches. It was a good sized gash. I was so traumatized just hearing her scream. I couldn’t get the sound of her chin hitting the tub out of my head. I too felt so guilty, and sorry for what my mo’o had to go through, and thanking God that she didn’t hit her head on the edge of the tub. Now when I give her a bath I am more alert, more like paranoid, whenever she’s moving around in the tub.


 Nanci Munroe My 3 year old choked on Sixlets candy at a HUGS Halloween party! I flung him over my lap & gave him 4 or 5 smacks in the middle of his back until he coughed it out, he came up crying saying “Mommy why did you hit me?” through his jagged tears! I’d had CPR/first aid training though work at Hawaiian Tel, it’s baby Heimlich.





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2 Responses

  1. Don Weisman says

    Aloha Malika and thanks for sharing this life-saving information. I’d also like to point your readers and you to learn-at-home CPR kits offered by the American Heart Association that can teach CPR in 20 minutes or less. Here’s the Web page for information:

    The kits make great gifts to grandparents, family members, friends, baby sitters, or anyone else who might care for your children. I gave kits to my parents and my in-laws for Christmas gifts since they have everything else they need. What better gift than the knowledge to save the life of a loved one?

    • Malika says

      Thank you! This is great info!