10-year-old girl saves choking grandma's life

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IRONTON, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A 10-year-old girl is being called a hero by her grandmother after a near-death experience.

Brenda Spears says she was driving in Ironton, Ohio with her four granddaughters last Wednesday.

"All of a sudden, I either coughed or hiccuped or something, and the candy got stuck right here," Spears said.

A piece of hard candy was lodged in her throat. Spears says she couldn't breathe and she started to see stars.

She pulled over and got out of the truck, but was unable to free the candy from her throat.

"I had no way out of this," said Spears. "My thoughts were, 'Lord, don't let me die in front of these four kids.'"

Ten-year-old Scarlett Broughton was in the passenger seat. When she saw her grandma choking, she says she wasn't scared at first.

"It all happened so fast," said Broughton.

The young girl got out of the truck and went over to Spears.

"The windows were down and I had grabbed the back window to try to hold myself up and all of a sudden, these two little arms go around me and they're just jerking, as hard as she could jerk," said Spears.

Spears doesn't know if it was the Heimlich Maneuver or just the fact that Broughton was jerking her around so hard, but the candy came out.

Broughton says she watched her grandma buckle to the ground. That's when she became worried. She thought her grandma died.

"I was so, so scared and then she like got back up, and I was like, 'I got it out!'" she exclaimed.

The 10-year-old doesn't think it's a coincidence that this happened just about a week after she learned the Heimlich Maneuver for the first time. She says she was watching YouTube when the autoplay feature played a very random video.

"It was like a Heimlich treatment thing," said Broughton. "So I just watched it because you never know when you're going to need it."

She didn't know she would use that skill so soon.

Now, Spears calls Broughton her "shero" (she hero). They have an even greater bond than before.

"I guess I owe this one for the rest of my life," said Spears.

"I feel really proud because she would have died and that would have broken my heart," said Broughton.

According to the National Safety Council, choking is the fourth leading cause of unintentional injury death.

John Music, a paramedic with Cabell County EMS, says when you do the Heimlich Maneuver, you're creating an artificial cough.

He says you should first ask the person if they are choking and if they want you to intervene and help

If they say yes, you go behind the person and find their belly button. Place your hand directly over their belly button or over top of it (underneath the rib cage.) Take your other hand and put it over your fist. Squeeze in and up at the same time. Repeat this until the object that is causing them to choke comes out or they pass out. In that case, you would need to administer CPR.

You can also give the Heimlich Maneuver to yourself by leaning over a chair and applying the same kind of pressure and motion.

Spears says she would like to see the Heimlich Maneuver taught in all grade schools. She says if her granddaughter can do it, so can other kids.

Read the original version of this article at wsaz.com.