Woman Hailed Hero After Saving Choking Baby’s Life

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A choking baby at a local restaurant was saved by a stranger who knew exactly what to do.

The emergency happened during the lunch hour at Wendy’s in Wexford Wednesday when a baby girl began choking.

Shannon McCarthy was there with her family when she heard people yelling for a doctor or a nurse.

“I told them I’m neither a doctor or a nurse, but I can help you,” said McCarthy.

McCarthy is a former EMT and CPR instructor.

“They showed me a lifeless baby that they were holding,” said McCarthy. “The baby was blue already around her lips and around her face.”

People inside the Wendy’s say everything stopped except for people calling 911. Both employees and customers were standing still, hoping the baby would be okay.

“Five back blows did the trick,” said McCarthy. “Flipped her over, seen that she had a glob of food in her mouth that was stuck. I did a finger sweep on her twice.”

The girl had apparently choked on peanut butter crackers.

“Flipped her back over, gave her one more blow cause it was just stuck there,” said McCarthy. “I could see it, and eventually, she just started screaming and crying, so I knew the baby was safe.”

“I am so proud of Shannon. I don’t even know Shannon, and her story just gives me goosebumps,” said Brenda Frank, who runs Start-The-Heart Training Center in Wexford.

She says a choking baby should first be given back slaps, five of them with the heel of your hand while supporting the baby’s jawline.

Next, carefully flip the baby over, check its mouth for food and begin five chest compressions, according to Frank.

She says to repeat those steps until the food has been dislodged and the baby is able to breathe again. However, if the baby goes unconscious, experts say begin a modified version of CPR.

The rules change on what to do when a baby turns one.

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Frank urges people to sign up for classes, which are offered at her business in Wexford.

Click here for more information from the American Red Cross, which has diagrams.

As for the baby from Wendy’s, at last word, she was pink in color and doing well.

McCarthy is grateful she was at the right place at the right time.

“It was a miracle. It was an amazing feeling,” she said.

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