SOUTH PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — A 9-year-old southern California boy who called 911 as his little sister choked on a grape has been saluted by authorities, who say his quick thinking saved precious minutes and possibly her life.
Jaequon Santos was honored Thursday by the South Pasadena Police Department, along with paramedics and a Good Samaritan who joined in the rescue.
His sister, Yaleona Santos, 3, was playing when she began choking on Jan. 9 at their home in the Los Angeles suburb.
Jennifer Santos saw her daughter hopping up and down and then begin to fade in and out of consciousness, KABC-TV reported (http://bit.ly/1hjgFdr).
As she struggled for breath, the girl's mother told Jaequon to call the emergency number.
"My sister is dying," he said during the frantic call and several later ones. "She's choking! She's choking! She's choking!"
Meanwhile, Jennifer Santos brought took the girl out to a parkway in front of their apartment building where a passerby, Max Storer, stopped to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
But not even arriving police and paramedics were able to remove the grape.
"It was slippery. Every time she would try to take a breath, it would draw back into her trachea and block her airway," Fire Department Capt. Eric Zanteson told KABC-TV.
The CPR, however, provided enough air to provide the girl with oxygen until doctors could remove the grape at a hospital. She has made a full recovery, police said.
The 911 call and other quick actions may have prevented brain damage or death.
"You have got basically five to seven minutes before you start to see brain death. Fortunately for her, everything fell into place and was really rapid," Zanteson said. "It is a culmination of everybody's efforts that made everything work so perfectly."
Jennifer Santos said she has learned that grapes and hot dogs are choking hazards for youngsters. Santos said she is going to take a class to learn first aid.
"The life you're going to be able to save might be one of your loved ones," she said.