This local mom saved her son from choking with this tool. Now she’s helping other families to be prepared.
Photo above courtesy of the Weir family.
One child dies every 5 days from choking, but a device called LifeVac has saved 700 people who were choking and likely would have died. In fact, a woman in our area saved her own child with it, and it was all recorded on her security camera.
Like most toddlers, Mason Weir is in non-stop motion, so when he suddenly became still a year and a half ago, his mom Brittany Massie Weir knew something was wrong.
“I looked at him, and I immediately knew that he was choking,” said Brittany.
Brittany Weir’s CPR training kicked in, and she used back blows to try to dislodge the obstruction, but when it didn’t work, she ran outside with the LifeVac device she just had bought just three weeks earlier. She kept thinking, “You have to hold it together right now, because you’re the only one that’s here that can save him. If you fall apart, he’s not going to make it.”
Brittany’s since become a huge advocate for LifeVac, donating 46 to her Kennedy Township community in the Robinson area.
She’s giving a LiveVac kit to Heidi Priest, who’s raising money with the Women’s Committee of Butler to get the devices in every school in Butler County. Each kit is $70. Heidi wants her daughters in Butler schools, or anyone who is choking, to have every opportunity to live.
Priest says, “When it’s preventable with a small device that’s easy to keep in your home, easy to keep in the school, easy to keep close to anywhere someone’s eating, it’s just a no brainer.”
Brittany demonstrates and teaches at events how LifeVac works — the device is essentially like a plunger. The LifeVac is easy to use. You select which size you need, adult or child. Then you seal the mask over the face including the nose. You push down. As you pull up, the obstruction comes right out, usually on the first try. Brittany reminds us it only takes four minutes before the brain starts to die and someone then goes into cardiac arrest.
LifeVac President and co-founder Michael Plunkett says, ”If you’re at home, the amount of time for the first responders to get there is going to take too long.” LifeVac still recommends doing the Heimlich maneuver first, but for babies, people who are in wheelchairs, immobile, or alone, LifeVac may be their only chance to live.
“It’s very surreal when you hear of other parents who lost their children, knowing that that was our alternative,” Brittany says. “I’m just so grateful that he’s here and every day is a blessing.”
There is a bill in the works to require all Pennsylvania schools have LifeVac kits. It’s expected to be introduced later this month or next.
If you’d like to donate to help Heidi get them in all Butler schools, we have a link here. Any amount over will go toward purchasing them for restaurants and first responders in Butler County.
For readers who wold like to purchase a LifeVac kit, use Brittany’s promo code that will give you a 10% discount: BMW10
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