Safe Sitter® Heroes
This Family is Grateful for Its Safe Sitter®
If the job of a big sister is to look out for her younger
siblings, then Kathleen is the ultimate big sister for saving her
younger sister's life.
The 12-year-old, who took Safe Sitter® at her local hospital in
Maryland, calmly and quickly used the life-saving skills she'd
One summer evening, the Hanley family was getting ready to enjoy
a dinner of grilled London broil outdoors. Since the meat looked so
delicious right off the grill, "My dad said we should have a strip
before sitting down for our meal," Kathleen said.
Kathleen and her mother, Laura, both enjoyed their tasting.
Shannon, 10, however, did not.
"She began coughing," Kathleen said of her younger sister. "It
was clear that a piece of meat was stuck in her throat."
Kathleen said her mother assumed that Shannon's coughing,
followed by a drink of water, would solve the problem. However, as
the coughing continued, her mother absentmindedly gave Shannon a
pat on the back and the meat became lodged, cutting off Shannon's
ability to move any air at all.
"The look of panic in her eyes was mirrored in mine and my
husband's. Shannon was making no noise and was obviously
struggling," said Laura. "I hate to admit that my husband and I
were completely frozen in fear. For what seemed like an eternity,
we tried frantically to recall what to do."
Kathleen stepped in, quietly and calmly performing the abdominal
thrusts on her sister. "I just knew I had to get it out! I
got behind Shannon and did the abdominal thrusts 2 or 3 times and
the meat popped out," Kathleen said. "The meat shot across
the yard and the family dog happily gobbled it up!"
Afterwards, the family talked about what had happened. It was
then that Kathleen shared that her Safe Sitter® class had taught
her what to do when someone is choking.
And her mother couldn't be prouder-or more thankful to the
Instructors, Eleni and Roliette, who taught her.
"I truly believe that a tragedy was prevented because of what my
daughter learned in the class," Laura said. "I am so grateful for
the program and Instructors - not just for teaching kids 'do's and
don'ts' but also for instilling confidence that they are capable of
taking actions that can turn a dangerous situation into a positive