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Third Grader Saves Best Friend Choking At School Day After Learning Heimlich Maneuver

NORTHBORO (CBS) – A third grader is earning high praise for saving her best friend who was choking at school. The girl knew exactly what to do because she took a lifesaving lesson the day before.

"It pretty much looked like she was choking so I turned around her back and gave her the Heimlich," said Shailyn Ryan.

If life is all about timing, then Shailyn Ryan of Northboro knows how to come through in a clutch. The nine-year-old saved her friend Keira Silvia who started choking at school.

Shailyn Ryan
Keira Silvia and Shailyn Ryan (WBZ-TV)

"My face turned red and I stood up and I started trying to swallow it, and then I couldn't," said Keira.

The girls say last week the two were at lunch at the Marguerite Peaslee Elementary School when all of a sudden Keira started choking on a hot dog.

"It was probably one of the most scariest feelings I've ever got," Keira said.

That's when Shailyn jumped into action.

"I put my hand in a fist and then my other hand over it, and then I squeezed on her belly so she would cough up the hot dog," Shailyn said.

Shailyn Ryan shows how she used the Heimlich on her best friend Keira Silvia (WBZ-TV)

The parents of both girls say Shailyn's actions may have saved her friend's life

"I am so thankful there are no words," said Noel Silvia, Keira's mom.

Shailyn learned the Heimlich at the Northboro Recreation Center where she takes part in a program called Home Alone Safety.

"Shailyn took the Home Alone program which is run through UMass Memorial and it's the smart kids 101 program, and she took it on Tuesday, April 30 and then she saved another child's life on Wednesday, May 1," said Allison Lane from the Northboro rec center.

"I wasn't nervous because I knew how to do it," Shailyn said.

Both families are smiling because of Shailyn's quick actions and attention to detail. They also have a strong message for everyone else.

"It's really important to know that kids are capable of a lot more than we give them credit for," said Keira's mom.

And the two girls will have a story to tell for life.

"The best friend that I can actually trust, I know that now I have somebody I can trust if I'm choking on a hot dog," Keira said.

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