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Mom Credits Red Cross Training With Saving Daughter's Life

It makes you realize how fragile life is. If it hadn’t been for that refresher course, I don’t know that she’d be here

Would you know what to do if you saw someone choking? Laurie Thomas of Charlottesville, Va. did because she took American Red Cross training and sprang into action when her little girl choked during a recent visit to a restaurant.

Laurie took her 2-year-old daughter to get her favorite food - pizza – and the trip took a life-threatening turn when the young girl began to choke. The young mother had attended a Red Cross event put on by State Farm in Charlottesville and credits her visit with helping save her daughter's life. One of the Red Cross stations featured a refresher course that taught people the skills to perform if a child is choking - like Laurie’s two-year-old daughter Caroline.

“It makes you realize how fragile life is. If it hadn’t been for that refresher course, I don’t know that she’d be here,” Laurie said, adding that because of the Red Cross training, she had her most precious gift for Christmas.

According to a Red Cross survey, many of us have witnessed someone choking. One person in ten surveyed reported they needed help themselves because they had choked on something. Most often, 57 percent of the time, a family member came to their aid, while in 30 percent of the instances the people had to help themselves. The survey also revealed that most choking incidents occur at home, with a high percentage also occurring in a restaurant.

The Red Cross offers classes in First Aid, CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and the use of an AED (automated external defibrillator), and recommends that at least one person in every household be trained. People can also take Red Cross babysitter and lifeguard training, learn how to swim, take training on first aid for use in wilderness and remote settings, sports safety training, even first aid for pets. Classes are available for individuals as well as for businesses and organizations. Visit or call 1-800-REDCROSS to register.

Information is also available for download on how to help someone - adult, child or infant - who is choking, and how to perform abdominal thrusts.

As we head into the new year, resolve to protect yourself and your loved ones by taking a Red Cross class. Laurie Thomas did and knows how important it is to know what to do when an emergency occurs.

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About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.