8-year-old hero saves choking classmate, thanks to skills taught by doctor dad

Makayla Annis, 7, was choking until her classmate Andrew Ramirez, 8, performed the Heimlich. (Photo: ABC)

It’s no secret that kids are always watching their parents and picking up on their habits, a reality that often makes parents more mindful of what they say or do in front of their children. But for one 8-year-old boy, observing his father gave him knowledge that allowed him to save a friend’s life.

Andrew Ramirez sprang into action when he saw that his 7-year-old classmate Makayla Annis was choking during their class Valentine’s Day celebration. While enjoying treats on Wednesday, Makayla ended up with a gummy bear lodged in her throat. According to Andrew, he saw her turning pink and knew he had to do something, which led him to perform the Heimlich maneuver.

“I saw Makayla choking, grabbing her neck, and I quickly gave her the Heimlich maneuver,” Ramirez explained to ABC News. 

The lifesaving tactic is something Andrew learned from his father, Dr. Rene Ramirez, who works in emergency medicine at a hospital in the Fresno, Calif., area. Dr. Ramirez heard about the incident from his 5-year-old daughter and believed that it might have been exaggerated. But from how Makayla, and her parents, reacted to Andrew’s deed, it’s evident that Andrew’s watching his dad ultimately saved a young girl’s life.

Andrew demonstrated for ABC News exactly what he did, teaching all the viewers a little something in the process as well. “If they’re choking, you get them right about right here, and you just push back like you’re giving them a really hard hug,” Andrew said.

“I was very surprised,” Makayla added. “This young gentleman helped me.”

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