A lifeguard at Seaside Heights saved the life of a 10-month-old baby who was choking on a piece of plastic and was beginning to lose consciousness on the morning of June 7.
“At approximately 12:10 pm SHBP (Seaside Height Border Patrol) lifeguard, 20-year-old Pete LaQuaglia was on his break and on the boardwalk when he heard screaming coming from numerous people,” said SHBP in an Instagram post.
LaQuaglia was eating pizza at that time, according to NJ.com. He threw the pizza to the ground and immediately ran to the scene and saw a panicked grandmother and a baby choking on something.
View this post on Instagram
At approximately 12:10 pm SHBP lifeguard Pete Laquaglia was on his break and on the boardwalk when he heard screaming coming from numerous people..He immediately ran to the scene and there was a 10 month old with trouble breathing and ready to fall unconscious..Pete knew something was blocking his airway and he was choking..Pete put the infant over his knee and performed the Heimlich maneuver and dislodged a piece of plastic from the 10 month old..10 month old was ckecked over by the Tri Boro first aid and he made a full recovery. The former 1st team All-Shore linebacker for the Mariners of Toms River North and 5th year guard was so cool under pressure. SHBP is so Proud of Pete!
“Pete knew something was blocking his airway and he was choking. Pete put the infant over his knee and performed the Heimlich maneuver and dislodged a piece of plastic from the 10-month-old,” SHBP wrote on Instagram.
Heimlich maneuver is a first aid technique for dislodging something obstructing someone’s windpipe.
“I was hitting him on the back. I was careful, and he coughed it up,” LaQuaglia told NJ.com. The baby was choking on a plastic ring that came from a water bottle.
Beach Patrol Capt. Rob Connor and other lifeguards were running to the scene with a defibrillator and oxygen, but by the time they reached the scene, LaQuaglia had already done his job.
View this post on Instagram
“By the time I got there, I saw the two slices of pizza dropped on the boardwalk. And I knew those were our guys,” Connor told NJ.com.
Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and the police also reported to the scene and the baby made a recovery. LaQuaglia returned to the beach and continued with his day.
“It was a great day, but anything can happen and we don’t rest on our laurels here,” Connor said. “You got to be get ready for anything every day.”
LaQuaglia has rescued 20 people from the rough water but this was his first medical rescue. He credited his lifeguarding skills to his high school background in sports.
— NJ.com (@njdotcom) June 11, 2019
“It definitely helps, just being in shape in general,” said LaQuaglia. “We go into work and workout every morning whether it’s a couple mile runs or swims.”
He said his job demands that he be vigilant every moment. “Having been on beach patrol for five years, stuff really does happen in the blink of an eye. You can be just sitting on the stands watching the water and something can happen in a split second,” LaQuaglia said. “You just have to react to it. It’s right time, right place.”
A total of 385,277,104 people recreated on the beach or in adjacent picnic areas in 2017 and 75,951 people were rescued from drowning, according to the United States Lifesaving Association.
Saving a Choking Person
Choking happens when a foreign object obstructs the windpipe of a person. It becomes important to give first aid to a choking person as soon as possible because choking can cut off the oxygen supply to the brain, explained Mayo Clinic.
A blockage can be removed if a person keeps coughing forcefully. Mayo Clinic said that the American Red Cross recommends a “five-and-five” approach to delivering first aid to a choking person:
- Give five back blows
- Give five abdominal thrusts
- Alternate between five blows and five thrusts
For more details click on the link to Mayo Clinic’s website.