Brother saves sister choking on a coin, encourages others to be prepared

Siblings Garrett Riddler, 16, and Kyndall Riddler, 13, are sharing their story after a choking...
Siblings Garrett Riddler, 16, and Kyndall Riddler, 13, are sharing their story after a choking scare.(KBTX)
Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 10:41 PM CST
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NORTH ZULCH, Texas (KBTX) - If someone begins choking on an object, obstructing their airway, brain damage can set in by minute eight, according to experts.

This is why siblings Garrett Riddler, 16, and Kyndall Riddler, 13, are sharing their story.

Tuesday night the pair decided to go to the gas station for some food. On their way home, Kyndall put a quarter in her mouth as a joke. Before she knew it, the coin had slid into her throat, cutting off her airway.

“I’m driving like down the road and I see her just doubled over. I thought she dropped something at first, but then I realized her face was starting to get a little bit red and her hands were like around her throat not and I was like, oh man, she’s actually choking,” Garrett said.

This is when he remembered the training.

“I had to pull over on the like the side of the road on the dirt road over here...I got her out of the truck, and I had to do the Heimlich maneuver on the side of the road, and eventually, we did get the quarter out of her esophagus.”

Garrett credits the knowledge to his mom, a nurse, and health class. Without it, he wouldn’t have been able to save his sister.

It took Garrett three or four tries before Kyndall spits up the coin. Bryan Paramedic, Chris Lamb, says quick action like that is vital in this type of emergency.

“Time is of the essence, brain damage can set in anywhere between eight and 10 minutes after somebody has become asphyxiated. So being able to dislodge that object quickly and immediately is of the utmost importance a lot of times,” Lamb said.

A scary moment for the siblings has turned into hope: that more people will learn emergency first aid.

“Life is such an important thing a lot of people take it for granted. If we learn the small things like the Heimlich maneuver or CPR, then we can really just save lives as many as many times as possible,” Garrett said.

The lifesaving power of first aid also made headlines after linebacker Damar Hamlin collapsed during Monday night’s NFL game.

The American Heart Association has resources to learn the Heimlich maneuver, CPR and other life-saving first aid treatments. They offer classes online and locally by finding a location near you.

The American Red Cross also provides classes as well as graphics to help learn the Heimlich maneuver.