WESTFIELD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A lazy summer day took a dramatic turn when a New Jersey toddler nearly choked to death. The child’s babysitter turned to skills she learned years ago to save her life.
Anna Reid, 15, was feeding 3-year-old Lia Simitz pizza when the toddler took a bite too big and a piece was lodged in her throat.
“She was sitting there with a shocked expression on her face and like her face turned bright red and she was not even coughing or anything. She couldn’t breathe at all,” Reid told CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang on Tuesday.
Precious seconds later, Reid said she got behind the child and hit her in the back five times between the shoulder blades and did the Heimlich Maneuver.
“In under a minute it went from a life or death situation to now she’s fine,” Reid said. “After two of three times, it just popped out.”
Reid said if you had asked her in that moment what to do, she wouldn’t have been able to answer, but somehow, she sprang right into action.
“I don’t even want to think if I had not known what to do what could have happened,” Reid said.
However, Reid did know what to do, thanks to a babysitting class she took four years ago. She was certified with the American Red Cross in CPR.
“Her training really kept her in that state and allowed her to use the things she learned,” said Christy Hodde, of the American Red Cross.
The young girl’s family was especially thankful for that training.
“She’s obviously a wonderful babysitter, but you just don’t think about these things happening and we’re just so grateful for Anna,” said the child’s mother, Tina Simitz.
Now, the teen has an urgent message for other babysitters.
“Things like that can happen instantly and you have to be prepared for it because there’s no expecting it,” Reid said.
It was preparation that turned a near tragedy into a life-changing memory.
Reid is starting her sophomore year at Westfield High School. In her spare time she’s working toward the Girl Scouts’ Gold Award.
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