So. Walton Teacher Saves Choking Child

SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. A Walton County teacher is hoping more educators will become C-P-R certified after an incident in her classroom last week.

A Butler Elementary fourth-grader began choking on strawberries during snack time. The teacher's quick actions helped save a life.

Every day at nine o'clock, Mrs. Lisa Reiger fourth-grade class enjoys snack time while she reads to the class. But last Friday when Mrs. Reiger looked up from her book, she saw one of her students was choking.

"One of my children had actually signaled me with her hands to her neck and was not able to speak."

Haley Gavin sits at the very front of Mrs. Reiger's room. She was eating strawberries with whipped cream.
"I finished my strawberries, then I wanted to drink the rest of my whipped cream and it was kind of melted and then I started choking on the whipped cream."

As a former Wisconsin teacher, Mrs. Reiger was required to carry a certification in C-P-R, the Heimlich, and defibrillators. After checking to see whether Haley could say her name, Mrs. Reiger began administering the Heimlich.

"And on the fourth abdominal thrust, she did in fact dislodge the obstruction in her throat."

"I was scared. I knew that I was choking, and I just started to feel hurt."

Wisconsin teachers are required to be C-P-R certified. That's how Mrs. Reiger acquired her 8-year certification. But current legislation does not require Florida teachers to be certified.

After what happened last week, Mrs. Reiger says it's a skill anyone with close proximity to children should be familiar with.

"It's so useful and you never think you're going to have to use it, and in this case, I did."

Haley's parents say they're grateful for Mrs. Reiger's quick thinking, and will be looking into C-P-R certification.

If you'd like to become CPR certified, contact your local fire department or community center.