Katie Couric Saved My Life!


In A Rush?

  • You see a choking child or an adult with no pulse – would you know what to do?
  • If the first bullet point scared you, learn CPR/Heimlich. Then you can be Batman.
  • Katie Couric is a tough cookie.

Alright fine, Katie Couric didn’t REALLY save my life – but had I actually been choking, she could have. And it only took her five minutes to learn how.

I “choked” in front of Katie Couric and her live audience.  I gestured: “I CAN’T BREATHE!” and Katie bravely stepped into action, under the tutelage of Dr. Richard Besser, Chief Health editor for ABC News. First, she delivered a few open handed back blows between my shoulder blades (disclaimer: Katie is surprisingly strong, don’t fight her), then she wrapped her arms around me. She clenched her fist at belly button level, sharply applied upward and inward pressure, and a round, threatening piece of Styrofoam went flying out of the training device (The fashionable red vest you see). The audience cheered.

Reality Check -> For toddlers, that Styrofoam may have been an airway-obstructing object such as a grape, seed, coin, or latex balloon.

Latex balloon?

Infants and toddlers explore the world using a handy, primitive instinct: everything gets a taste test.  On the menu are hard candies, seeds, pennies, marbles, latex balloons, and anything else within reach. According to a 2013 study in the Journal of Pediatrics, a child dies roughly every five days from choking related causes; the issue rakes in around 10,000 annual emergency department visits annually in the United States. (1)

Keeping small toys and objects away from children is not enough.

According to the study, food remains the leading cause of choking.  Here’s the issue – little ones develop incisors early but molars come in later, around age two.  Basically, they can bite off small pieces of food but lack the ability to safely grind it.  All it takes is one piece, small enough to swallow but large enough to obstruct an airway.  And a blocked airway will not only hamper breathing, it may also impair a toddler’s ability to cry for help.

Scare tactics.

You should learn abdominal thrusting, or the “Heimlich maneuver”. Head to your friendly neighborhood youtube.com and learn how now.

Maybe You’ll Save a Life Today Batman.

Speaking of superheroes, Katie also learned how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), a life-saving technique for anyone in cardiac arrest, or without a pulse.

You guessed it.  You should learn CPR as well.  The American Heart Association estimates that 70% of Americans are unfamiliar with standard CPR and the reality is that over 85% of cardiac arrests occur at home. Get yourself armed by signing up for a CPR course.  You can also start virtually…here’s my favorite version


And The Point Is. . .

Hide legos from your toddler, cut up meats and fruits, and learn a couple life saving techniques – Katie Couric isn’t always free to save lives.


1. Chapin, M. M., L. M. Rochette, J. L. Annest, T. Haileyesus, K. A. Conner, and G. A. Smith. “Nonfatal Choking on Food Among Children 14 Years or Younger in the United States, 2001-2009.” Pediatrics 132.2 (2013): 275-81.

Find yourself a CPR course -> http://bit.ly/1dsEzLd


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