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The Importance Of Learning How To Perform CPR And Choking Relief Methods With Gail Gould

Updated: Jan 4, 2022

The main cause of unintentional death of infants under the age of 1 is choking. This is why CPR classes with choking relief should be mandatory for new parents. Join your host Hayley Foster as she sits down with CPR and Safety Lady, Gail Gould. Gail is the owner of FITCORE, where they teach lifesaving skills like CPR and basic first aid. Learn the importance of CPR and choking relief methods especially when you're with an infant or a child. Stay tuned as Gail presents a short demo of how to do CPR for infants, children, and adults. Get educated and save lives today!


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The Importance Of Learning How To Perform CPR And Choking Relief Methods With Gail Gould

I’m so excited to be here with Gail Gould, who is the CPR and Safety Lady that I met on Clubhouse. I am super excited to get into this conversation. Gail, thank you so much for joining me. I appreciate having you here.

Hayley, thank you so much for inviting me. I have been excited to talk with you about what I love to do. Thank you for having me.

I will give you a little behind the scenes, which most people don't know about me. I do not want to have many fears but the biggest fear I have is the fear of choking. I'm not sure where it came from and when it started. My husband will tell you I hate taking vitamins, and I don't like swallowing big things. I have choked a number of times and have been Heimliched twice where I had it on the back.

Both of my children, when they were in nursery school, had episodes of choking. Choking is my fear, so maybe my next show should be with somebody who is a psychiatrist who can help me through this fear and help me to get over it. This session could be the beginning of me getting over my fear of choking.

FYP 33 | Choking Relief
Choking Relief: If you're alone and choking, what you do is to lean over the edge of a chair. Then you thrust yourself as hard as you can over the edge of the chair.

I did not know that about you. You have never shared that. You certainly don't want to live with, “My name is Hayley, and I'm fearful of choking." What's interesting is I have met several people since I have been on Clubhouse who shared the same thing with me. I have a digital course called How To Help Your Choking Child. I have had two women from Clubhouse purchase the course and told me they were too scared to click on the link to start it.

I don't know if you know the psychology behind where it comes from. I would imagine that I have it from the fact that both of my kids have choked. I wasn't there but thankfully, they were okay afterward, and then my own choking experiences. I was in a restaurant with my ex-husband, and a woman at the table next to us was choking, and nobody knew what to do. My ex-husband got up and gave her the Heimlich Maneuver and saved her.

Did she thank him?

She sent me this beautiful bag. She worked for a bag company, and he's like, “I saved her life, and you get a beautiful bag.” I still have it.

What were you choking on? You said you have been Heimliched twice.

My current husband jokes around. He's like, “You can't choke on that.” I choked on a piece of rice. He's like, “It's too small to get lodged.” I'm like, “I choked on it. What do you want me to tell you?” It went down the wrong pipe and choked on it.

Were your kids at school when they were choking?

They were at school. It was the teacher who stepped in.

The statistic I read was around 3,000 people a year die from choking, and about 2,000 of those were kids. You compare that to the 500,000 people a year who die from heart disease, 170,000 people a year who die from stroke, and 100,000 people who die from injuries. Three thousand people died in a choke, and you think that's not that many but if it's your kid or your family member, it's a lot. I don't think you are alone. There are a lot of people, especially new moms who are fearful if their kids are choking, especially around 6 to 7 months when you start feeding solid foods.

What jumped out at me now was it's so important for new moms to know the difference between gagging and choking. It’s important for everybody to know the difference. Young children have this gag reflex. It's very sensitive, and it's there to keep them from choking. Gagging looks very loud and noisy. Their face would be beet red. You will hear crying, coughing and gurgling. They may thrust their tongue forward, their eyes may be watered, and they may vomit. We tell people to leave them alone and not intervene when someone is gagging because, most likely, they will be able to work it out themselves.

It's when they become silent, and their face turns pale, lips turn blue, you hear a high pitch crowing noise, and their chest becomes concave. That's when you need to step in, intervene, and provide choking relief. Choking is mainly silent. Gagging is loud and noisy. The same that we like to use, “Loud and red, let them go ahead. Silent and blue, they need help from you.” That’s important because every time your young child is eating, you are going over there, and you are looking fearful. You are going to scare your child.

Especially now that a lot of new moms are doing baby-led weaning, there's going to be more gagging going on. They have these tiny little bitty pieces of food. It’s important to know the difference between gagging and choking. When you choked in that piece of rice, were you coughing that it got stuck and it wouldn't go down, or was it silent?

I was gasping for air. I was stuck in there.

How did you get it expelled?

The person with me came up behind me and did the Heimlich, and then it came out.

It should be a requirement that all new parents take a CPR class with choking relief before the baby leaves the hospital. The main cause of unintentional death of infants under the age of 1 is choking.

As you probably heard me say before and in some of the Clubhouse rooms, it should be a requirement that all new parents take a CPR class with choking relief before the baby leaves the hospital but I'm not in charge, so that doesn't happen. The main cause of unintentional death of infants under the age of one is obstructed airway, meaning choking.

What I tell people so often is I compare CPR to having insurance. We all need to have insurance. We all have it, and we hope we never have to use it. It’s the same thing with CPR. I tell people always, “I hope you never have to use any what you are going to learn here but if you need to know it, you want to know it. If you need to use it, you want to make certain that you know what to do.”

When I was pregnant, my ex-husband and I took a parent prep class, and part of that class was infant CPR because you can't Heimlich a baby. You have to learn what you need to do when a baby is choking because you can crush their diaphragm. It’s different for a baby than it is for anyone over the age of one. I remember that from the course and felt like I hope I never have to do this. It seemed very stressful but I'm glad I did it. The other child was choking in school but my ex-husband was there, and he was the one that helped her.

That's great that he knew what to do. I read some statistics that said, “7 out of 10 parents would not know how to respond to a medical or injury emergency.” It's good that your husband knew what to do. Honestly, the majority of parents would not know what to do if they had not taken CPR training. I had a girl who I met on Clubhouse who's so sweet. She said, “I'm terrified to take a CPR class.” She took my Zoom CPR training and wrote this nice testimonial. She goes, “It wasn't scary at all. I'm glad I did it.” She's got three kids, and her husband's a chiropractor. She has a medical background in the family but she told me, “I'm not quite certain why but I was terrified to take it. After this, I'm so glad I did this. It wasn't scary at all.”

You are providing such a service scale. Tell me how you’ve got started in this.

I was a group exercise instructor for many years. Back then, I was known as the exercise lady. I’ve got tired of being in a leotard and seeing people at restaurants eating. They would see me and say, “I promise I never eat this, and I exercise a lot today.” I’ve got to graduate school in 1987 and got a Graduate degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion. After I graduated, my goal was to do corporate health promotion. This is back in the day when you could call people on the phone and speak to them instead of emailing.

I would call all these large oil and gas companies here in Houston and ask them, “Do you want a weight management class? Do you want stress management? Do you want tobacco cessation?” They would all go, “Hmm.” The minute I would say, “Do you want CPR?” They all said, “Yes.” It was amazing. They all wanted CPR training, and I became a CPR instructor. That's how it got started. I was fortunate that I started with a lot of the large oil and gas companies here in Houston, like Chevron, Shell, Bechtle, and some of the large engineering firms like Quanta Services. I loved it.

It was so much fun for me to teach people that I thought was important. I had always wanted to be an entrepreneur. My dad was an entrepreneur, and I thought working for myself was going to be the way to go. It was so much fun. It started slow, and then it kept growing. In all preschools in all states, the teachers have to have CPR training. That was another big source of people where I could go out to do training and be in contact with social service agencies. That's how I’ve got started, and it continued to grow. Now, I have been doing it for over 30 years.

This is the second time I have had this conversation but I see franchise written all over you. You should franchise, and have a CPR and Safety Lady everywhere under your brand.

I have had a few people mention that but I want to focus on what I want to do. I have had people say, “You should branch out.” I have had other instructors and had, at one point, two people working with me because I couldn't manage it all. It would be worthwhile now to share how I’ve got involved in Clubhouse and why I’ve got involved. Right before the pandemic in January 2020, I was at a client, and they said, “Gail, there's this woman that came to speak to us, and she lost her child to choking.” It broke my heart. I asked if I could speak with her. They called her and said, “She will speak with you.”

I called her, and we spoke for about an hour on the phone. I cried because, as you will see her in a minute, it takes me less than five minutes to teach people how to help the choking child. She inspired me to create my digital course, How To Help Your Choking Child because I thought all parents need to know how to do this. It's so important. What she told me was her eight-month-old started choking. She did not know what to do. She panicked, ran to the neighbor's house, and by the time she got back home, her baby had expired. It broke my heart.

I started working on my digital course, and it was truly a labor of love. I had to get help from a lot of different resources because I was much more tech-savvy now but was not tech-savvy at all not so long ago. I was able to bring the course to fruition. It's on sale on my Instagram, @TheCPRAndSafetyLady. It’s a course that empowers new parents, grandparents, teachers, and caregivers, with the knowledge of what to do if their child is choking. It has diagrams, videos, quizzes, and printables on hazards for choking foods that are appropriate to feed your child at a certain age. That's how I’ve got involved with Clubhouse. I’ve got on there to market my digital course.

The silver line to the story with the woman with the baby was we spoke in January 2020. She contacted me in November 2020, and she said, “I'm pregnant again. I need to take a CPR class.” In November, I was still doing only Zoom classes. She came to my Zoom CPR training, and I was so worried that I was going to say something that was going to upset and trigger her. You can imagine a heart that was hurt. Her video went off, and I was like, “I know she must be crying.”

I called her afterward. I said, “I'm so sorry if I said anything to trigger you.” She goes, “I turned my video off because I had to go pee.” She was about six months pregnant and had her baby now. I’m so happy for her. We have maintained contact and this friendship. I'm proud of her that she had the courage to take a CPR class because I know that could not have been easy for her.

FYP 33 | Choking Relief
Choking Relief: You don't really need to know why the person is unresponsive and not breathing. All you need to know about a victim is, are they conscious, and are they breathing? If they' not, immediately start CPR.

What a story, Gail, and what a service you are providing to people. What do you do if you are choking and no one is around?

It's very easy. I have a video in my highlights on @TheCPRAndSafetyLady about exactly what to do because one of the people that was very fearful of taking the course asked me, “What do I do if I'm choking?” What you do is you lean over the edge of a chair, sofa or kitchen sink, and you thresh yourself as hard as you can over the edge of a chair. People are much more likely to be using choking relief in their CPR.

I have talked to thousands of people who either told me they choke themselves, their husband, child, friend or neighbor. It’s very common. I would say every class I teach, at least 1 or 2 people would tell me it's happened to them. In CPR, I will have four people a year say, “I had to give CPR to my boss, neighbor, my friend or a stranger.” Choking is so common.

With that, let's get to your demo.

I will demonstrate baby CPR, baby choking, and then child CPR and child choking. It's the same for a child as it is for an adult.

We are in position, and Gail is ready for her demo. I’m super excited about this.

In the CPR world, the age guidelines are as follows. An infant is 0 to 1 year. A child is 1 up to 8, and 8 and up is an adult. I'm going to demonstrate infant CPR. The deal with the baby is if you can fit the baby on your arm from head to toe, treat them as an infant if you can't treat them as a child. For instance, you have an 8-month-old who weighs 30 pounds, and you need to treat him as a child. Conversely, maybe you have a fifteen-month-old who still fits in your arm. Size does play an important role with the infant but theoretically speaking, infants are up to the age of one.

The main cause of unintentional death of infants under the age of one is obstructed airway. CPR must be done on a hard flat surface. It cannot be done on the sofa, chair or car seat. It must be a hard flat surface. As you see the baby laying, I'm going to tap her foot, “Baby, wake up.” She is not responding to me at all. I'm going to say, “Hayley, go call 911.” Also, get the AED because you put the defibrillators on infants, children as well as adults. The way you determine if someone needs CPR is to check for breathing.

We no longer want you to check for the pulse. The pulse check was eliminated many years ago. Even you see it on TV in the movies, we no longer want the non-healthcare provider to check for a pulse. I’m going to scan her body for any breathing, and that's going to tell me if she needs CPR. She is not breathing, she needs CPR. For a baby, I'm going to use two fingers. I'm going to place my two fingers on her sternum directly beneath her nipples and give her 30 chest compressions. I will gently open up her airway, almost like her nose is at 12:00, and then I'm going to give two little puffs of air.

Continue to do this 32 for 5 times, and it will take you around 2 minutes. You don't need to know why the person is unresponsive and not breathing. All you need to know about a victim is, are they conscious? Are they unconscious? Are they breathing? Are they not breathing? If you have the slightest inkling that they are not breathing normally, immediately start CPR. This demo is not meant to train people in CPR. It's meant to pique someone's interest, so they will hopefully take a full CPR training. That is infant CPR.

A child is anyone over the age of 1 to 8 in a CPR world. Same thing here. I see this child lying. We are going to say she's about four years old. I have no idea what's the matter with her. I don't know, whether she's meditating, relaxing, sleeping, playing a practical joke, which is lying around. The first thing I'm going to do is we call it shake and shout. I’m trying to get her attention, “Wake up. Can you hear me?” She is not responding to me, so I need to send someone to call 911 and get the AED.

Let me mention here, this is so important if you are alone with an infant or child, there's no one else around, and they are not responding. You give 2 minutes of care, and then you go call 911. For a teenager and up, go call 911 first, then come back to care of the victim. The reason is infants and children are more likely to respond to your care. They don't have this cardiac rhythm and nearly as often. Teenagers and up are most likely going to need to be defibrillated. If you are alone with an infant or child and there's no one to send to go and call 911, give 2 minutes of care, then call 911.

I've got this three-year-old here, and she's not responding. I will send Hayley to call 911 to get the AED, I’m going to check for breathing for 5 to 10 seconds, and she is not breathing at all. I'm going to use one hand on this child. I'm going to give her 30 chest compressions 6 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 30. I'm going to come down here and open up the airway. I'm going to pinch off her nose, and I'm going to give two breaths, and then back to my 30 again. I'm compressing about 1.5 to 2 inches deep.

You are right below the chest on this one, too.

With CPR, you hope you never have to use it but you certainly need to know it.

My hand is right in between the two nipples on the vertical axis of the stern, and that's exactly right. If it feels something soft and squishy when you are compressing, your hand is in the wrong place. It needs to be on the bony part of the sternum. You need to feel something bony and hard. I will do my 30 chest compressions, come down and pinch her nose. Do that 32 for 5 times. I have a CPR chart, and if anyone is interested to receive it, I'm happy to send it to them. That is CPR for a child. The only difference between child CPR and adult CPR is an adult-use two hands. An adult in the CPR world is anyone over the age of eight.

I'm going to go back to my baby and show baby choking. You need to make certain that the baby is not gagging where you would avoid intervening. The baby is silent. The face is turning pale, lips turning blue, chest concave, minimal coughing, and a weak, ineffective cough. Now you know this baby has an obstructed airway, and this is what you are going to do to the baby. You are going to turn the baby to where the head is lower than the feet, put her in your arm or your knee, and I'm going to give five backslaps right in between the shoulder blades, glancing blows up toward the skull.

How am I going to know if it comes out? The baby is going to scream bloody murder. If you don't hear any screaming or crying, turn your baby's face. It’s the same place we gave CPR. Right beneath the nipples, you draw an imaginary horizontal line on the vertical axis of the sternum. You give five chest thrusts, and then you look in the mouth. You want to avoid sticking your finger in there, blindly fishing around.

You can put your pinky finger in there if you see something but you want to avoid blindly fishing around without seeing something. If there’s nothing in there, turn it upside down again, five chest thrusts. Look in the mouth. If nothing is there, flip her back over. This is choking relief for anyone under the age of one or who will fit in your arm. For people with young babies, breast milk and formula can't afford the airway of infants under the age of four months.

I have done choking relief twice on my son, once when he was 3 months, another when he was about 8. On a side note, the two most common choke, if it's for children, are whole hotdogs and grapes. You need to cut the hotdogs lengthwise and into quarters and the grapes lengthwise into quarters by eight. I cut my son's hotdogs until he was twelve because I knew a teenager who died from choking on a hotdog, and it scared me.

For anyone over the age of one, the face is pale, lips are blue, minimal coughing, minimal noise and chest concave. What you want to do is make a fist and place your thumb right inside of the fist. You place it right above the belly button. You would be standing instead of kneeling, in and up right above the belly button, and below the rib cage, each thrust with the intent to expel it from the airway. Who hasn't seen a four-year-old stuff an entire muffin in their mouth at some point?

It’s when my kids are eating, and they start laughing. That's when I start to have a heart attack.

This is what you do for anyone over the age of one. My son, when he was about eight, we were at a very large grocery store down in Houston. He saw a friend of his at the grocery store, and I saw them. I looked over where they were talking and throwing jellybeans in each other's mouths. The next thing I know is my son's face turns beet red.

He immediately starts losing all color from his face. I knew what was going on. I gave him a couple of thrusts. After two thrusts, the jellybean came flying out. There was all this commotion, and then everybody was yelling and screaming. He used to get mad at me when I would share that story. He told me I was violating his privacy but now he has gotten used to it. Also, I did it once to a stranger.

I can't say that you relieved any of my anxieties because we will not be passing blueberries in my house anymore.

Make a fist, place the thumb inside the fist. Place them right above your belly button. Push it back in your chair, right above your belly button, and in and up, almost like you are drawing the Nike Swoosh. That's what you want to do.

I am so grateful to you, Gail, for doing this show and following up with me on Instagram. I'm thankful for all the Clubhouse rooms we have been in together, so we were able to meet each other. I'm able to share this with readers and my community. I appreciate you so much. I know you have something coming up. Do you want to share that?

I have a Zoom CPR training on Monday, July 26, 10:00 AM, Central Standard Time. This is a class for knowledge. This class will teach and empower you with the skills to know how to respond in a medical or injury emergency. I'm very excited. That's another silver lining of the pandemic where we started doing all the Zoom CPR training for people who never would have been reached otherwise. It has been so much fun. On Monday, July 26, you can register at, @TheCPRAndSafetyLady on Instagram. This has been so much fun for me. I'm grateful that you asked me to come to spend some time with you.

Anything I can do to help, serve others and save lives. This has been great. Thank you so much, Gail. Please send me the information. I will make sure to share your information on all my social media channels about your event.

Thank you so much, Hayley. This has been fun for me. I'm sorry if I raised your anxiety about choking.

I feel better for sure, so thank you. I feel better with the whole thumb positioning. It's always having the knowledge and knowing what to do at that moment. Thankfully, I'm married to a former Navy SEAL. Once a Navy SEAL is always a Navy SEAL. He's always the calm, cool, and collective one with any situation with my kids. I always looked to him like, “Crap,” and he always looked back like, “I’ve got this.”

I'm sure he’s competent in responding to a medical situation.

He's calm and responds to anything.

Is he a Boy Scout?

I don't think so. He never talks about Boy Scouts. I don't think he was.

You should ask him.

I have never heard him talking about it, so I'm not sure but I will. He was a big swimmer since the age of six, and that was his thing. He went to Naval Academy. On that note, thank you again, Gail. I appreciate it. Thanks, everyone, for reading.

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About Gail Gould

I have been a professional CPR instructor for over 30 years and have trained 10k people to save lives. My mission is to CPR train as many parents, grandparents, teachers, and caregivers as possible.


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