So, one day I was teaching kindergarten/first grade and I happened to be at the right (wrong) place at the right (wrong) time and had to perform the Heimlich maneuver on one of my first graders. It worked quickly and the kiddo was fine. But it was pretty scary and it took me a long time to calm down. I had the boys shortly after that and thus instituted the "No choking no puking" rule at our house.
Fast forward to last week. The kids are at awana. Thomas asks if he can eat the warhead (hard candy) he won at awana. I see him talking to another adult, he quickly turns away and she follows in horror. I walk over to him (quickly) and he starts mouthing, "I'M CHOKING!" with this look of panic on his face as he grabbed his throat and turned a deep shade of red/purple. Kids were gathering, so I pulled him in close with my arms around his waist and tried to listen real close for breathing. No air was coming in or out. So I did the Heimlich maneuver and pop! That candy came out. But when he sucked back in for air, it got stuck again. So one more maneuver and that candy went down. Holy crap. As I was doing it, all I could think was, "What if this doesn't work?" And yet, the maneuver has never failed me. It's consistently worked.
Pretty sure I've now done my share of choking and dislodging items from children. I'm not sure my heart can take that much adrenaline again. Sheesh! Thomas was pretty freaked out and wanted to go home immediately (where we snuggled), but all is good again.
Just a friendly reminder to know your moves. :)