A meatball incident and a mom's message to anyone who takes mandated lifesaving training

- A three-year-old girl was at daycare in Centerville, Minnesota, when she started choking on her lunch. But thanks to years of good training and a calm reaction, it all turned out OK.

Heather Haider has always known that Apple Academy would take good care of her daughter. What she didn’t expect was that the director would actually save her little girl’s life.

Last Thursday was a typical work day – until Heather Haider got the call no mom ever wants.  

“Sydney was standing kind of hunched over the table making a really high-pitched squeal sound. She wasn’t coughing or crying, so I knew right away that it was serious,” daycare director Kari Latourneau said.

Latourneau went into life-saving mode, giving the little girl multiple abdominal thrusts that didn’t work right away.

“You have to do it very forcefully in order for it to be effective. And I was just really worried that I was going to have to physically hurt her in order to save her,” she said.

After almost two minutes, the meatball flew out and Sydney could breathe. Every year and a half, workers at Apple Academy go through training on CPR, abdominal thrusts for choking and other life-saving skills.

“I was just so relieved,” Latourneau said.

“My daughter wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for Kari and the rest of the staff knowing what to do because they’ve been through that training,” Haider said.

Sydney is just fine now, but her mom and the hero of this story will never forget what happened and what could have happened.

It just so happens that Latourneau and the other workers will go through training on these life-saving measures in a couple of weeks.

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