Herald Journal Columns
Oct. 24, 2005, Herald Journal

First aid training – a worthwhile investment


Halloween brings a collection of candy that keeps the “sweet tooths” of my children (and mine, too) happy for a long time (almost until next Halloween).

My husband and I check through the candy to make sure it is safe to eat. As part of the examination process, I also collect all of the various “sucking” candies to store away.

Because of past choking experiences with butterscotch and peppermint sucking candy, I am very cautious and probably overprotective. Whenever my children want to suck on a piece of candy, I make sure it is broken up into smaller pieces first.

When I was in second grade and on the bus waiting for it to leave school to transport us home, I choked on a butterscotch candy. And I was really choking. I could not cough, talk, or breathe, so I ran up to the bus driver, who had his back to me, sitting in his seat, and I tapped him on the shoulder and gave him the universal sign for choking.

He immediately stood up and stood in back of me and performed the Heimlich maneuver on me. Obviously, it worked because I am writing about it.

It was a scare for me as I am sure it was for the bus driver, but I am so thankful he knew what to do. He should have received a Purple Heart award.

I am not sure his quick action was recognized by anyone other than my family and me. But to this day, 30-some years later, I still consider him a hero in my book, and I have shared this story more than a few times with my own children.

It really is beneficial to be trained in first aid safety and CPR. It can save a person’s life.

A short while before my youngest daughter turned one year (about six months ago), she got a hold of an apple her older sibling had been eating, and she choked on a piece of apple peeling. We observed she was not coughing, crying, or talking. We knew she was choking.

She was small and not yet one, so I picked her up, laid her on my forearm, facing down, head down, and performed back thrusts. The apple peeling started coming up, and my husband grabbed the peeling out of her mouth. She started crying – what a relief. There are times when crying is music to your ears.

As a parent, it seems, you go into action mode and automatically respond, but I was grateful that I had received training in first aid and rescue breathing a few different times, so I knew what to do.

I would recommend first aid and CPR training to anyone. Courses are offered through community education, technical colleges, and hospitals. The classes and training are well worth the effort, time, and investment! You never know when you may need to use it.

A thank-you bite

We’ve probably all had times when children don’t want to try a new food, or they just don’t want to take a bite of that dreaded vegetable or hot dish that they don’t like (or think they don’t like). In fact, health professionals and nutritionists say young children usually need to try food a few times before they actually can determine whether or not they like a food, and tastes for foods can change over time, as well.

I remember when my daughter “hated” spinach, but she tried it again, and now, eats it for a snack.

How about implementing the “thank-you bite” system at each meal? Everyone, including adults, must try at least one bite of each food when it appears for a meal – a thank-you bite for the effort of preparing the food, or just for having the food (unless of course they have an allergy or a have a great adverse reaction to a food item). Who knows, they might just like what they thought they didn’t!

Portable play box

As my family and I travel around to watch our children in their various activities, we “carry” along some must-haves for our other children to play with as they are watching their sibling at dance, soccer, etc.

Parent Bob Tomecek of Lisle, Ill. noted in the FamilyFun magazine that he and his wife created a portable sandbox to keep their younger children busy at their older siblings’ sporting events. They used a clear plastic container with a tight lid, filled it with white play sand, and added some small toys, such as a shovel, ball, cup, truck, etc. It’s great entertainment for the little ones. When they are done, the cover goes on, and it goes in the back of the vehicle for the next event.

You could create different portable play boxes depending on interests. One could contain crayons, markers, stencils, paper, and color books. One could contain play dough and cookie cutters. An Etch-a-Sketch and Magnadoodle are great toys to keep in the car, as well, to use in a pinch.

And of course, a container with books is always a good idea.

Have a safe and wonderful week!