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Nanny's CPR training saves boy's life

By Laurie Aucoin Kaiser Daily Herald Staff Writer


A quick-thinking nanny -- and adequate CPR training -- saved the life of a 10-month-old Vernon Hills boy Wednesday morning. When R.J. Jacobson started choking on a tiny wooden letter he had popped in his mouth, Sueanne Lineberger of Grayslake immediately administered the Heimlich maneuver until the baby resumed breathing. "By the time the paramedics arrived, R.J. was smiling, and I was throwing up," the 39-year-old Lineberger said with a laugh.

A wooden letter had fallen off a handmade picture frame and somehow the curious little boy found it in the carpet, Lineberger said. In just seconds, Lineberger said, R.J's face turned gray and his eyes were bugging out. She gave him three blows to the back and chest compressions. She pulled out the letter with tweezers. When Countryside Fire Department paramedics arrived close to 9 a.m., Lineberger had dislodged the object, and R.J. was breathing normally. "She did everything right," said Countryside Fire Capt. Chris Kazian said. "They did a great job of teaching her at the Grayslake Fire Department."

Lineberger, who recently became a nanny after a longtime career as a family psychologist, took the three-hour CPR class in Grayslake eight months ago. "I've been certified since I was 20, and this is the first time I've ever used it," Lineberger said. "I'm just ecstatic that it came to me."

For several years, the Grayslake Fire Department has offered CPR training in conjunction with the Grayslake Community Park District. "We always have a good turnout," Captain Peter Nowak said. "Many new parents and child-care providers attend." In his 12 years with the department, Nowak said the choking incident marks the first direct link he's seen between the training and a real-life emergency. "I'm very pleased that someone who received our training was able to use it," Nowak said.

Being certified in CPR was an "absolute requirement" R.J.'s mother, Kathie Jacobson, said she had for anyone hired to care for her son. "The parents deserve a lot of credit," Lineberger said. "They really checked me out, checked my background thoroughly. It's terrible to think someone could have a lost a child because of what the sitter didn't know." Jacobson took R.J. to the pediatrician later Wednesday just to verify that he was all right. "He's no worse for the wear," she said, while feeding him lunch. "I think it was harder on me and the nanny."