12-year-old girl saves 2-year-old brother after he starts choking; 911 call released

Posted at 9:58 PM, Aug 20, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-21 10:31:53-04

WEST JORDAN, Utah -- A 2-year-old boy is alive thanks to the calm, quick actions of his big sister. As the boy was choking, the 12-year-old sent another sibling for help, called 911 and kept the toddler from getting worse.

In the 911 call, we hear Shaylee Pedersen telling the dispatcher: “I think my brother's choking, and I’m alone. I just sent my brother to go get my mom.”

Shaylee has babysat her brothers plenty of times, but when 2-year-old Jayden started coughing and breathing heavily after choking on his food during dinner, Shaylee knew something was wrong.

“I was sort of just thinking I need to remain calm, I need to make sure that he doesn’t die, and all that sort of stuff," she said.

Putting what she has learned in her church's youth group activities into practice, she sent her brother Matthew to get their mom, then called 911.

During the call, we hear the dispatcher ask, “Is he breathing?”

Shaylee says, “It’s hard for him to get air.”

We’re told Jayden’s lips had turned purple as he struggled to breathe. When paramedics arrived, they all praised Shaylee for doing everything right to keep the food lodged in Jayden’s throat from shifting.

Kristy Pedersen, Jayden's mother, said, “If she hadn’t acted the way she did, he might not have been able to breathe and it might have gone in worse and ... yeah, we might not have had him anymore.”

Shaylee adds, “I’m kind of happy with myself, and I’m also kind of afraid that it might happen again while I’m babysitting.”

We’re told this is the third time Jayden has choked on his food. His parents will be taking him to get some tests done and see how he’s swallowing.