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Posted: October 6, 2009 5:16 p.m.

Officer saves baby girl from choking

Girl had a hair barrette lodged in throat

A Newton County Sheriff’s Deputy’s fast-thinking saved the life of a Newton County infant Thursday night.

Sgt. Tommy Thomason was on patrol in the Kirkland Road area when he noticed a call for EMS pop up on the computer screen in his car. When he read the details and realized how close he was to the address, he decided to head over to the home and see if he could help while the residents waited on EMS to arrive.

When the deputy arrived he was met at the door by the little girl’s panicked mother who was reportedly holding her baby facedown and screaming, "My baby is choking on a hair barrette!"

Reports indicate that the baby was in obvious respiratory distress and barely breathing. The deputy took the baby and attempted to dislodge the barrette by thumping her on the back between her shoulder blades which was unsuccessful and the child continued to "wheeze and struggle to breathe."

Using an index finger the deputy attempted to pull the barrette out of the child’s mouth but found that it was so deep in her throat he could barely touch the tip of it. She was attempting to breathe and cry but could not do either and reports indicate her body was limp.

"I was afraid the child would stop breathing completely so I put my finger into her mouth and again managed to reach far enough to move the barrette upward slightly with my fingertip," said Thomason in his report.

"My second attempt to pull the object up managed to get it up farther but at the same time it became wedged crossways in her throat. A small amount of blood was draining from her mouth and I felt it was imperative to get the object out quickly. With one more pull I was able to get the barrette free and removed from her mouth and the child immediately began to cry loudly and breathe normally."

In roughly five minutes EMS arrived at the home and took control of the situation.

According to the child’s mother she had undressed her daughter and was preparing to give her a bath. When she had her back turned and was drawing the bath water the little girl removed a barrette from her hair and placed it in her mouth. She reportedly heard her child gagging and could see the barrette lodged in her throat but when she attempted to remove it she was unable to do so.

The baby’s vital signs were back to normal. She was transported to the hospital for doctors to check her throat for serious cuts from the barrette which was plastic and measured between one and one-half inches long and was around one-quarter inches thick. 

"I was afraid the child would stop breathing completely so I put my finger into her mouth and again managed to reach far enough to move the barrette upward slightly with my fingertip," said Thomason in his report.

"My second attempt to pull the object up managed to get it up farther but at the same time it became wedged crossways in her throat. A small amount of blood was draining from her mouth and I felt it was imperative to get the object out quickly. With one more pull I was able to get the barrette free and removed from her mouth and the child immediately began to cry loudly and breathe normally."

In roughly five minutes EMS arrived at the home and took control of the situation.

According to the child’s mother she had undressed her daughter and was preparing to give her a bath. When she had her back turned and was drawing the bath water the little girl removed a barrette from her hair and placed it in her mouth. She reportedly heard her child gagging and could see the barrette lodged in her throat but when she attempted to remove it she was unable to do so.

The baby’s vital signs were back to normal. She was transported to the hospital for doctors to check her throat for serious cuts from the barrette which was plastic and measured between one and one-half inches long and was around one-quarter inches thick.

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