BELLEVILLE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A New Jersey teenager is being credited with saving her sister’s life.
In a tense moment, the young girl performed the Heimlich maneuver on her sibling.
When 14-year-old Kiara Fernandez first learned how to perform the Heimlich, she never dreamed she’d have to use it.
“My heart was just like beating so fast, I was so scared,” Fernandez said.
The teen was out for lunch last week at a restaurant in Belleville, New Jersey with her younger sister, Jadah, and their grandmother.
Suddenly, Jadah started to choke on her food.
“I saw her face was really red and I saw she couldn’t breathe.”
“We know Jadah is waving her hands, turning red and purple. Kiara stands up and I do. She asked me should I do it and she grabbed her,” grandmother Judy Avila said.
Fernandez immediately jumped into action and performed the Heimlich on her sister.
“I went right behind her and pushed three times and the food came out,” the fast-thinking 14-year-old said.
“I was just nervous and scared and frightened,” 12-year-old Jadah said.
“I’ve been prepping them for so long so I felt extremely proud knowing she did it,” the girls’ mother Andrea Saroza said.
Despite the horrifying experience, Kiara says she knew what to do because of her mother.
“I would show Kiara on her teddy bears and Jadah was watching,” the mother added.
Saroza is a former EMT. She taught the girls the procedure when the girls were just four and six years-old.
“There were so many situations where children were choking and no one knew what to do. To me the Heimlich maneuver and CPR are basic concepts that everyone needs to know.”
Saroza posted about what happened online in hopes of encouraging other parents to do the same. The rest of the family says they will now also learn the technique.
“I tried to give her a kiss and she was like no you just threw up,” Jadah joked about the moments right after her sister saved her life.
They’re grateful for Kiara and happy Jadah is ok.