Teacher's aide saves 7-year-old choking at Cliffside Park school

Anthony Johnson Image
Saturday, April 1, 2023
Teacher aide saves 7-year-old choking at NJ school
Kayla Lopez, 7, was eating lunch in her Cliffside Park classroom when she started choking. Anthony Johnson has more.

CLIFFSIDE PARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- Kayla Lopez, 7, was eating lunch in her Cliffside Park classroom when she started choking.

"I was eating some steak, I was sitting down, then my steak kind of got stuck," said Kayla

Thankfully, teacher's aide Jessica Foster came from her classroom and used the Heimlich maneuver to dislodge a piece of steak stuck in Kayla's windpipe.

The family is feeling a sign of relief and is thankful that the aide stepped up when their daughter was struggling to breathe.

"She just put all fear aside - no hesitation. She did what she did and she saved my kid's life," said Kayla's mother Natasha Madrid.

"I'm thankful that she jumped into that adrenaline mode, I'm gonna do what I gotta do and no more consequences, whatever the situation is, we're gonna get this done," said her dad, John Lopez.

Kayla's dad is a police officer in the nearby Guttenberg Police Department and he and his wife say Jessica is an angel.

After a piece of steak popped out of Kayla's mouth, emergency help arrived, but the little girl was feeling better and Jessica stayed with her until her dad arrived to pick up his daughter.

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