Hobart Police Officer Richard Mayer and a few of his co-workers were enjoying a meal together at a Chik-Fil-A restaurant in Merrillville, Indiana on Friday during his first day as a paid police officer when a mother rushed to his table for help. According to WLS-TV, Melanie Hasse and her daughter, Charlotte, were just a few tables away from the police officers eating lunch when Charlotte started to choke.
According to Melanie Hasse, she spotted a piece of food in the back of her toddler’s throat after hearing her begin to gag on her food. Her mother noted she made the mistake of trying to reach in her daughter’s mouth to retrieve the food. Melanie noted she believed her initial reaction was a mistake as she thinks she pushed the food further back into her daughter’s throat.
Noticing the table of police officers also eating lunch, Melanie Hasse picked up her choking toddler and rushed her over to Hobart Police Officer Richard Mayer and his co-workers and begged for help.
According to Officer Richard Mayer, he grabbed the child from the mother before he and the officer to his right – Officer Ramos – flipped the toddler over before slapping her on the back several times. Mayer noted they were able to dislodge the food from her throat quickly.
WLS-TV notes the piece of food stuck in the toddler’s throat was a small piece of apple. The news outlet also notes saving this toddler’s life was the very first action Officer Richard Mayer took as a paid police officer.
When speaking to the news outlet about what happened Mayer noted the whole situation caught him and his co-workers very off guard. Both Mayer and his co-workers have daughters. All three officers took a moment to reflect on what if it had been their daughters in the same situation. Melanie Hasse notes how grateful she was that Mayer was there to save her daughter.
“This is what he was meant to do, to save lives in some kind of way.”
According to the New York Department of Health, choking is the leading cause of death in children under the age of five. Children can choke on food, toys, and other household items. According to Baby Center, a parent in the same situation as Melanie Hasse should alternate between five back slaps and five abdomen thrusts until the object becomes dislodged or the child starts coughing.
Trying to pull the object out of a child’s mouth when they are choking often pushes the item in further and makes the situation worse.