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Sacramento 6-year-old saves classmate with Heimlich maneuver

By: By Bill Lindelof

Published: Fri, 05/04 @ 12:00AM

Elspeth "Beanie" Mar is a wisp of a girl, but she's a big hero this week, having performed the Heimlich maneuver on a choking classmate at their school in the Pocket area.

Six-year-old Beanie, who learned the Heimlich watching television, wasn't all that impressed with her own actions.

After popping out a piece of apple clogging the throat of her good friend Aniyah Rigmaiden on Tuesday, Beanie and her friend sat back down and finished eating in the Caroline Wenzel Elementary School lunchroom.

It wasn't until they returned to class that her teacher, Maria Marshall, learned of 38-pound Beanie's exploits.

Both Beanie's and Aniyah's parents were notified of the incident. In honor of Beanie and Anthony Roy Jr., another classmate who first noticed Aniyah turning red, an impromptu ceremony was held in which Beanie and Anthony were named "Heroes of the Day."

Judy Montgomery, principal of the Greenhaven Drive school, was much impressed by Beanie's cool.

"It was so matter-of-fact," said Montgomery. "She got up, got the apple out of the little girl's throat and then just sat back down. That is how it should be.

"But I was blown away at how a first-grader could handle something like that so seamlessly. Usually, I would expect them to yell, 'Hey, help! Someone's choking!' "

Later, Montgomery asked Beanie where she learned to perform the Heimlich, a maneuver in which a person wraps his arms around a choking victim's waist, grasps one fist with the other hand and presses into the upper abdomen with a quick upward thrust.

"From 'A.N.T. Farm,' " Beanie replied. The Disney Channel television show is about a musical prodigy.

On the Heimlich Institute website, Beanie's mother, Amy Peterson-Mar, is quoted as saying how astonished she is that her daughter learned her rescue skills from television.

"I just find it amazing that a silly kids' show could demonstrate something so simple and so wonderful as the Heimlich maneuver … and do well enough for my little girl to save a life a few months after seeing it."

She went on to say that Beanie is still not quite sure what all the fuss is about.

By telephone Thursday, Peterson-Mar said the family celebrated with ice cream, lots of ice cream.