Lending A Hand

On a typical afternoon, Peyton Cole, 10-year-old son of Jennifer Strong and Kevin Cole, goes to Bolivar Roy Blunt YMCA’s After School Program.

However, during a recent snack time — one of Peyton’s favorite activities, along with hanging out with his friends — things were anything but typical for Peyton.

Peyton and his friends tried to see who could eat their snacks the fastest until a friend caused him to laugh.

In an instant, Peyton was choking and couldn’t get the food out of his throat. Grayden Morris, 11-year-old son of Michelle and Troy Morris, ran for help as Peyton made his way to the water fountain.

Peyton and Grayden were met by after school counselor Tyler Dempsey as he finished a routine room check.

Tyler said he immediately performed the Heimlich maneuver, and Peyton could breathe again.

“I was scared when I was choking then felt better right away,” Peyton said, adding he knew Tyler was pushing air up to dislodge the food from his throat.

“It was probably 30 seconds, but it felt like five minutes (that Peyton was choking),” Tyler said. “Grayden acted fast, and the other kids knew what was happening.”

Tyler first learned the Heimlich maneuver in high school, and he gets recertified every year working as the YMCA sports director, he said. “I thought I would eventually use it but never thought here,” Tyler said.

In hindsight, Peyton’s advice on eating too quickly is simple — “Don’t do it.”

Although Tyler is originally from out-of-state, he said the kids he works with keep him in Bolivar. Thanks to well-ingrained knowledge and quick action, Peyton, Cole and Tyler can continue spending weekday afternoons together. More about the Heimlich maneuver

According to the Mayo Clinic website, people can perform the Heimlich maneuver, or abdominal thrusts, in four steps: • Stand behind the person. Place one foot slightly in front of the other for balance. Wrap your arms around the waist. Tip the person forward slightly. If a child is choking, kneel down behind the child. • Make a fist with one hand. Position it slightly above the person’s navel. • Grasp the fist with the other hand. Press hard into the abdomen with a quick, upward thrust — as if trying to lift the person up. • Perform between six and 10 abdominal thrusts until the blockage is dislodged.

The website said If you’re the only rescuer, perform back blows and abdominal thrusts before calling 9-1-1 or your local emergency number for help. If another person is available, have that person call for help while you perform first aid.

If the person becomes unconscious, perform standard cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, with chest compressions and rescue breaths.

For more information, visit the website at mayoclinic.org.

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