It was just a normal day for Leah Porritt. She was dressing her son in the bedroom, while her 3-year-old daughter cleaned up the bathroom. 


"I heard a noise from the bathroom. The bathroom where my daughter had been happily singing the ABC song, and had just shouted over to me, ‘I almost done cleaning up Mama.’ I had left her in the empty bathtub to clean up her toys, as I dressed her little brother in the bedroom across the hall. Actions and routines we’ve done a million times before." 


However something wasn't quite right, there was a noise that registered differently, then quiet. 


As any parent knows, quiet is never good.



"She was hunched over in the empty tub, her arms and hands extended in panic, her head thrust forward and mouth open. The noise coming out her open mouth was too quiet." 


She was choking on a bath toy. Porritt began to frantically hit her back to try and dislodge the toy. 


"I grabbed her wet body and flipped her over, hitting her back. Again and again. I stuck my finger in her mouth and felt nothing. I could see the distress on her face and it confused me. I knew she was choking but on what? The bathtub toys were not small enough to fit in her mouth. She doesn't even put toys in her mouth. She never has, even as a baby.


"Her lips were blue.


"I’m going to lose her."


She grabbed her daughter and ran to her neighbours. 


"I screamed.  I screamed louder than I’ve ever screamed. I ran and I screamed; out the front door, across our lawn, across my neighbour's driveway and up the stairs to their front door. I screamed and ran because I knew I needed help. I screamed and ran because I didn't know where my phone was and I needed someone to call 911. I screamed and ran because I needed someone to save my little girl." 



Luckily, their neighbour is a daycare worker and was well-versed in CPR. 


As I fell forward, Ms. T caught my girl in her arms. Her feet were white. Her lips were blue. Her noise was too quiet.


"It took one more pound on her back and the toy flew out. The toy that was not a bathtub toy. The toy that I didn't even know was in the bathtub. The toy that my 3 and 1/2 year old had played with dozens of times and had never once put in her mouth. The toy that somehow went in her mouth and lodged itself in her throat. The toy that almost killed her." 


Much to Porritt's relief, her girl was okay. But she realised how close she had come to losing her that day. 


"It could have ended so differently. It could have been longer before I realised what was happening. My fear could have caused my body and mind to freeze; a very possible bio-mechanical reaction. My amazing neighbour could have been gone. All of my amazing neighbours (neighbours who are former EMTs and firefighters) could have been gone. 


"I could have lost her."



Now she wants every parent to be aware how important it is to be trained in CPR. 


"I’m writing this because I want you to feel it. I want you to feel the panic I felt and I want you to do something about it.


"Not every parent has CPR and first aid training that would allow them to save their child’s life. Not every parent, including me."


Porritt hopes that her story will prompt other parents to brush up on their CPR and other life-saving skills. 


"I hope you never need it to use it," she concludes.  "But I hope that you know how to, if you do. I didn't lose her.


"I’m registered for [a] class... Please, please, please join me.  I beg you.”


You never know when you might need to use it.