On January 1, 2024, a 3-year-old boy with Down Syndrome choked on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Yesterday we had to use the LifeVac on my son. It’s the second time we’ve used one with him. Truthfully, I thought when he choked the first time it would never happen again. He’s learned to chew and swallow like a champ. He’d stopped pocketing food and could even bite and chew things like whole pieces of pizza. But yesterday as he sat eating a very routine peanut butter and jelly sandwich (routine like he’s probably eaten hundreds of them!) he began to grunt and make a noise I’ve never heard. I could tell right away very little air was making it through. I swiped his cheeks and found some sandwich then at the same time three of us ran for the LifeVac.(my two sons and I) I laid him on the couch and one son had to hold him down while I used the LifeVac.
First pump we got out quite a bit of sandwich but after sitting him up and hearing the same noise I realized there was more. We did it again and another clump came out. His airway cleared and he just hugged me. It’s terrifying. Truly. So I’m sharing because I want everyone to own a LifeVac. We have one for each car he rides in. One for school. One for a homeschool co-op. one in the diaper bag and one in the kitchen. You just never know. Sometimes people eat too fast. Sometimes they take bites that are too big. Sometimes it’ssomething else. Don’t wait. Don’t say you’ll do it another day. Choking happens fast and without notice. We originally got ours for Will but any one of us could choke. It’s better to be prepared and never need to use it than to wish you’d had one after the fact.