LEICESTER, Mass. -- A 12-year-old girl jumped into action when she saw her twin brother choking in the school cafeteria, and is now being praised for her quick thinking.
It's the heart-stopping moment that almost ended in tragedy. Charlie Loverme, 12, was choking on a piece of cheese in his school's cafeteria.
"I thought I was going to pass out or, like, die," Charlie said.
He tried to signal to his classmates for help.
"I just started, like, reaching for my neck, signaling that I was choking," Charlie said.
But, some, mistakenly thinking he was going to be sick, backed away. That's when his twin sister, Amelia, sprang into action.
"I just knew that he was choking, because his face was turning a different color. And I got up fast, so I could help him," Amelia said.
In the U.S., at least one child dies from choking every five days. A choking individual won't be able to cough, speak or breathe, so they should signal to others by putting their hands over their throat.
If you notice somebody choking, bend the person forward, and give five back blows. If that doesn't work, give five abdominal thrusts just above the belly button. Continue the process until the object comes out.
"So, our hand is going to be against their abdomen, and it's going to go in a J. Scope towards us in and up, and that compresses the lungs, forcing air out the mouth hopefully with that object," said Dr. Jeffrey L. Pellegrino, a senior advisor to the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council.
Charlie and Amelia's parents and step-parents are grateful.
"This is the stuff you hope and pray never, ever to happen to one of your children," said Christy Ruth, their mother. "These kids need to pay attention and look out for one another. And I'm just grateful that Amelia did."
And, while the experience has brought them closer together, siblings will be siblings
"You're welcome," Amelia said.
"Thanks," Charlie laughed.