In the Right Place at the Right Time: RWJF Scholar Saves Choking Toddler
Quick thinking and a lucky coincidence saved a toddler’s life, and the incident is serving as a powerful reminder about the need to train parents and other caregivers about what to do when children choke.
Maja Djukic, PhD, RN, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Nurse Faculty Scholar and assistant professor at the New York University College of Nursing, was rollerblading near her home in Connecticut this fall when she heard screaming. Djukic raced to the scene to find a one-year-old boy limp and turning blue. The boy’s father was calling 9-1-1 while him mother tried, unsuccessfully, to clear his air passages. Djukic was able to do so; she had the child breathing by the time an ambulance arrived. He has fully recovered.
In “Keeping Little Breaths Flowing,” Jane E. Brody of the New York Times wrote about the incident, noting that “few parents of newborns are taught how to prevent choking and what to do if it occurs.” Brody’s two-part piece on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) concludes with “How CPR Can Save a Life,” in which she focuses on resuscitating adult victims of cardiac arrest.
Choking is the fourth-leading cause of unintentional deaths among children, according to the New York State Department of Health, which published the fact sheet, Choking Prevention for Children. The University of Michigan Health System also offers a resource, Choking Prevention, with tips for parents of babies and children on how to avoid choking and what to do if it occurs.