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A 7-year-old primary school student has been hailed as a hero after using the Heimlich maneuver to save his classmate’s life during lunch.

David Diaz Jr., a second-grader at Woodrow Wilson Elementary in Binghamton, New York, sprang into action when he noticed his friend choking on pizza at school.

He said he learned the life-saving measure from the TV medical drama “The Good Doctor,” which he watched with his father, David Diaz Sr., over the past year.

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“If someone is choking or in danger, you should always rescue them,” David Diaz Jr. told Fox News Digital in a recent phone interview.

“If you don’t, it will be really sad,” added the boy.

From left to right, David Diaz Sr., David Diaz Jr. (front) and NY State Senator Fred Aksher.  The trio posed for a photo at Woodrow Wilson Elementary.

From left to right, David Diaz Sr., David Diaz Jr. (front) and NY State Senator Fred Aksher. The trio posed for a photo at Woodrow Wilson Elementary.
(Emmanuel Priest/The New York State Senate)

Young David said he wasn’t sure he could save his friend as he put his arms around him. But he hoped he could – he was closer to the suffocating student than his teachers at the time.

Kristin Korba, a second-grade teacher at Woodrow Wilson Elementary, told Fox News Digital that David was sitting across from the choking student.

“If someone is choking or in danger, you should always save them.”

– David Diaz Jr., 7

“The adults were walking around the cafeteria, supervising,” Korba recalls. “David ran after [the choking student] And Heimlich performed.”

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“As soon as it happened I went and checked [on the student who choked],” Korba added. “He was cleared by the nurse and the parents [were] Contacted.”

When Korba talks to David, she learns that he saw the Heimlich maneuver performed on a TV show and made a note to “remember” it because it seemed “important” to know.

David Diaz Jr., a local hero at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School, and NY State Sen. Fred Aksher shake hands while honoring the 7-year-old at a June award ceremony.

David Diaz Jr., a local hero at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School, and NY State Sen. Fred Aksher shake hands while honoring a 7-year-old at an awards ceremony in June.
(Emmanuel Priest/The New York State Senate)

According to the National Library of Medicine, the Heimlich maneuver, also known as an abdominal thrust, is a first aid procedure in which one person applies pressure between the navel and the rib cage of another person to dislodge an obstruction in the victim’s airway.

People may perform the Heimlich on themselves or others when they are choking.

“I am very proud of my son.”

– David Diaz Sr.

David’s bravery was recognized on June 13 when Binghamton City School District Superintendent Dr. Tonya Thompson and New York State Senator Fred Axer visited David.

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He was awarded the New York State Senate Commendation Award for his heroic work.

Proud father David Diaz Sr. (back, left, behind his son) David Diaz Jr., 7, presents the New York State Senate Commendation Award in June 2022. "He is an angel in my eyes." A proud father of his son.

Proud father David Diaz Sr. (back, left, behind his son) David Diaz Jr., 7, presents the New York State Senate Commendation Award in June 2022. “He’s an angel in my eyes,” he said. A proud father of his son.
(Emmanuel Priest/The New York State Senate)

“I’m very proud of my son,” Diaz Sr. told Fox News Digital. “He’s an angel in my eyes.”

“If he wants to be a doctor when he grows up, I’d be happy to help him achieve that later in life. But that’s really up to him,” Diaz Sr. continued.

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He said he hopes his son “keeps learning from educational TV shows and becomes what he wants to be.”

What to know about the signs of choking and the Heimlich

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), a nonprofit public service organization based in Chicago, suffocation is the fourth leading cause of accidental death in the US.

More than 5,000 people die from suffocation every year, and food is often the culprit, according to the council’s estimates.

Signs of choking include forceful coughing, gagging, wheezing, clutching and passing out, the NSC suggests.

The Heimlich maneuver is a first aid procedure in which a choking person is forced to remove an obstruction from their throat by abdominal thrusts.

The Heimlich maneuver is a first aid procedure in which a choking person is forced to remove an obstruction from their throat by abdominal thrusts.
(iStock)

If a person appears conscious and coughs forcefully, bystanders should encourage the choking person to cough more to clear their airway before attempting the Heimlich maneuver, the council suggests.

Rescuers should ask if a person is breathing first – and if so, to let them know help is on the way. According to the NSC, the Heimlich maneuver is performed when a pair of hands go around the body of a choking person and place them on the abdomen.

Abdominal thrusts should be directed inward and upward in a sharp motion until the obstruction is removed from the choked person’s throat.

One of the rescuer’s hands should be clenched into a fist with the thumb facing the choking victim’s abdomen.

Hold the other hand firmly before performing abdominal thrusts.

Abdominal thrusts should be directed inward and upward in a sharp motion until the obstruction is removed from the choked person’s throat.

Procedures are slightly different for pregnant women and people who cannot wrap their arms around the abdomen.

Chest thrusts are usually indicated in these cases.

For infants and young children, rescuers should support choking victims by facing them down and holding their head with one hand, says the NSC.

The victim’s torso should rest on the rescuer’s forearm against their thigh. Rescuers should continue by slapping the victim on the back until the food comes out of the throat.

Alternatively, chest thrusts can be applied while the choking youngster is lying on their back.

In this case, rescuers should place two fingers on the breastbone and apply sharp pressure until the person suffocates.

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In cases where a choking victim is unresponsive, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and possibly automated external defibrillation (AED) should be performed until medical professionals arrive, the NSC says.

Families can learn how to perform the Heimlich maneuver, CPR, and AED from a local hospital, the Red Cross, or the National CPR Foundation.

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Instructional videos are also available online to help people familiarize themselves with these life-saving techniques.

However, private classes with certified trainers are beneficial. Depending on the course provider, classes are free or come at a cost.