NORTH SMITHFIELD – Nine-year-old Axel Leahy’s parents say they had no idea that their son knew how to perform the Heimlich maneuver before he swooped into action last week to save his sister.
Now, the proud parents say they’re impressed with Axel, and grateful for his knowledge and bravery in helping 8-year-old Olivia.
“We’re super proud – and shocked too,” said the children’s father, Scott Leahy.
It was a normal night in the Leahy home, with dinner in the oven and family members in the living room, with the kids winding down from a day at summer camp.
“We were watching YouTube, and we were eating Skittles,” said Olivia.
While there was some debate on Monday about the color of intrusive candy, one thing is clear: a Skittle had become lodged in Olivia’s throat.
“She started making a gagging noise and I was on the other end of the couch,” said Axel and Olivia’s mom, Kim Leahy. “Before I knew what was happening, he was already behind her giving her the Heimlich maneuver.”
“I just knew what to do,” said Axel, who will turn 10 in two weeks. “I just pushed her chest and it came out.”
Asked where he learned the life-saving technique, Axle credited Anime YouTube star Jaiden Dittfach of Jaiden Animations.
“I had to replay the episode in my head,” he said.
Apparently, it’s not all the show taught him.
“If you’re choking by yourself, you have to push yourself against a hard surface,” Axel said.
The proud parents say they’re still in shock from the incident.
“This all happened in under 30 seconds,” said Kim. “I was so impressed with his quick thinking.”
Olivia said the incident was scary, but was fine after some time recovering with mom. After the Skittle came out, she gave her big brother a hug.
And the close call with a situation that could have been much worse has made the kids’ parents a little less apprehensive about time spent on the internet.
“It makes YouTube seem not so bad now,” said Kim.