Life-saving children’s program impacts thousands

Choking is the fifth leading cause of accidental death in the United States. Over the years, the Heimlich maneuver has saved an estimated 100,000 U.S. lives, and thousands more worldwide. Although most people don’t consider themselves heroic, one organization is passionately working to teach people that anyone can be a Heimlich hero.

Heimlich Heroes is a free interactive program designed for children ages seven and up. After a basic one-hour training, students can recognize signs of choking, minimize or eliminate the risk of choking, and properly perform the Heimlich maneuver. Heimlich Heroes has a beyond the classroom-based approach and children can now also be taught through HH training in a variety of environments.

“Heimlich Heroes believes in the importance of early exposure,” says Terri Huntington, Heimlich Heroes program manager.  “Young people are extremely curious and will remember this life-saving training experience for many years to come. Over 100,000 lives have been saved with this technique since its inception in 1974. Teaching this life saving technique to just one child can save thousands.”                                                                                          

It’s impactful. Over 7,000 young people this year across the country have been trained or have registered with Heimlich Heroes for training free of charge.

It’s interactive. The Heimlich Heroes training kit includes an instructional video, learning materials for students based on their ages, and the Heidi or Hank training doll. These 42-inch dolls feature an internal diaphragm, lungs and a windpipe. The dolls’ plastic mouths expel a peanut-sized foam cushion when the maneuver is performed correctly. Practicing the maneuver on a doll helps children learn the amount of pressure they need to exert and it builds confidence in performing it. When faced with a choking emergency, trained children can spring into action to save a life.

It’s changing lives. “The children were extremely excited to learn this life-saving technique,” said Sylvia Murray, the school nurse at De Zavala Elementary in San Marcos, TX. “The training encourages and instills confidence in children to become heroes in their communities.  The students even went home to teach their parents the Heimlich maneuver. The students became the teacher!”

The Heimlich Heroes program:

  • Empowers young people to see themselves as potential heroes
  • Links learning experiences with real-world events
  • Features hands-on material and online training
  • Enables young people to react confidently during an emergency situation
  • Keeps the students engaged and energized
  • Can be used as a one-time lesson or extended for classroom use
  • Is easily supplemented with our robust STEM and language arts curricula
  • Increases student confidence, independence, and self-esteem 
  • It is easy to use and free to the user


Heimlich Heroes is designed to help not only children, but teachers, sitters, parents and youth leaders know how to handle a choking emergency. “Training is simple, free and easily accessible. Investing just one hour can mean the difference between life and death,” says Huntington.

To access free training materials and learn how to bring Heimlich Heroes to your school or organization, visit