Gardens cops who saved choking baby at mall are ‘angels,’ mom says
PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL – Two Palm Beach Gardens police officers are heroes to a panicked mom whose 14-month-old daughter turned blue while choking on a chicken nugget at The Gardens Mall two weeks ago.
Lucia Graham has been eating solid food — and a lot of it — since she was 9 months old, but on that afternoon, the chicken nugget she was chomping on got wedged in her throat, mom Ana Graham said. The Wellington mother of two could tell right away that something was wrong.
“On her second bite, I noticed she looked at me with her eyes wide open. She started turning red,” she said.
She yanked Lucia from her stroller and patted her on the back like the pediatrician taught her, but to no avail. Lucia started turning blue.
Then, “like angels from heaven,” two Palm Beach Gardens police officers who had been sitting across the food court appeared, she said.
Officer Robert Ayala, who had been assigned to the mall July 21, saw Ana Graham “frantically” get up and go to the stroller minutes after the family sat down. He ran up and grabbed the baby, put her face down on his left hand and struck her upper back with his palm a few times. Then he swept her mouth with his finger.
The stubborn chicken nugget remained stuck until Ayala forcefully patted little Lucia on her back again. That’s when she finally spewed out the mushy nugget.
As the ordeal was unfolding, Officer Rafael Guadalupe immediately got on his radio to call for Palm Beach Gardens Fire Rescue and talked to Ana Graham to try to keep her calm.
Ayala said he usually likes to walk around the mall so that people see him in uniform as a crime deterrent. He was at the food court only because Guadalupe was there for lunch.
“It was just the right place at the right time,” he said.
Palm Beach Gardens police undergo CPR and first aid training — including how to respond to choking adults and infants — at least every other year, department spokesman Maj. Paul Rogers said. Ayala credits his training for his quick response.
“This thing happened so fast, you didn’t have time to react. It’s just like muscle memory,” said Ayala, a father of three.
The Palm Beach Gardens City Council honored Ayala and Guadalupe Thursday night. Ayala previously received a life-saving award for forming a human chain with other officers to save two firefighters who got trapped in a rip-current effect as they attempted to rescue a young man who drowned in a spillway while wake-skating.
As for Lucia, paramedics checked her out as a precaution. The scare didn’t stop her from finishing her lunch.
Lucia’s 2 1/2-year-old brother, William, unfazed by the incident, continued eating his chicken and french fries.
Dad Curt Graham got a very long text message while he was at work, “which is never a good thing.” He called his wife, who was shaken up as she recounted what happened.
He’s “eternally grateful for the fast action,” he said.
Irving Police Arrest Pair For Alleged
IRVING, TX – The Irving Police Department is investigating a case of human trafficking that happened during the past few months. On Sunday, April 15, 2018, officers responded to a call where a victim reported escaping from a prostitution enterprise.
The victim, a young adult female, was kidnapped from California and brought to a home in the 200 block of Rolston Road against her will. While there, she was forced into prostitution by two suspects, America Anderson, 20, and Devanshu Gupta, 26.
They would advertise the services on a variety of websites, then take the victim to various local motels to meet with customers. Also at the home was a second victim, a juvenile female, who was also being held against her will and forced to participate in prostitution.
The responding officers and detectives quickly identified the suspects and took them into custody after seeing them leave the home with the juvenile victim. Both are currently being held in the Irving City Jail on charges of Trafficking of Persons, Trafficking of Child, Compelling Prostitution ($100,000 bond each charge) and Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution ($50,000 bond).
Report: Kentucky Child Abuse rate second
highest in the nation
Kentucky’s 2016 child abuse rate — more than double the national average — was the second highest rate in the nation.
Almost 20 of every 1,000 children in the state were abused, according to the “Child Maltreatment 2016” report released recently by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Children’s Bureau.
The reported didn’t come as a surprise to Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Madison County executive director Victoria Benge, who said Kentucky always is at the top of the nation in child abuse rates.
Benge said child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level. In most cases, it isn’t one single circumstance that leads to abuse, she said.
Typically, it’s a combination of factors that cause high stress levels in the family, which could include a lack of education, money troubles, or a variety of other stressors. Drug abuse is a big determinant.
Family court judge for Madison and Clark counties Nora J. Shepherd said drugs are involved in almost every case she handles in family court.
The drug epidemic has drastically increased the case load in family court, Shepherd said.
Continual budget cuts have also put a strain on the system in place to protect children, she added.
Lack of support for social workers has resulted in lots of turnover and, now, state workers including child protection workers are looking at drastic changes to their pensions, leading some to leave.
Funding for Comprehensive Care, which provides counseling services, has been in decline for years, Shepherd said. People who need mental health services can’t get help.
When it comes to finding abuse and stopping it, everyone can play a role, Benge said.
In fact, anyone in Kentucky who suspects a child is being abused is required to report it by law.
In cases where people are suspicious but aren’t sure, they should make the call, she said.
“I think you can never be too cautious,” she said. “You’re better to be safe than sorry.”
“If you see something, you have to call,” she said. “You could be part of saving a child’s life.”
Learning the TEN-4 bruising rule can help people identify possible abuse, according to a press release from Norton’s Children’s Hospital. The rule says that children under 4 should not have bruising on their torso, ears or neck.
It’s also important for people to help stressed parents, maybe by offering to babysit for a while or offering to run an errand, the hospital release states. People can help prevent abuse also by simply de-stressing a situation with a statement such as “I remember when my child acted like that.”
Madison County has a number of organizations working on behalf of children, Benge said.
CASA uses community trained volunteers to advocate on behalf of abused and neglected children within the family court system. The organization’s main goal, Benge said, is to break the cycle of abuse.
Too often, children in the court system have people coming in and out of their lives.
“It’s so important for these children to have a person who stays with them,” Benge said.
Another Madison County organization that is instrumental in the fight against child abuse and neglect is the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS).
“They do fantastic work,” Benge said.
The social workers with CHFS investigate claims of abuse and neglect, and make referrals on the best course of action for the affected children.
The county attorney’s office prosecutes those accused of abuse or neglect, Shepherd said. Madison County assistant county attorney Jubal Miller has worked on family court cases for more than 20 years. Deputy circuit clerk Debbie Agee also has worked in the court for decades.
The HANDS program through the Madison County Health Department is another resource for families of young children. HANDS is a home visitation program that assists during their child’s first two years of life. A public health nurse and public health home visitors visit the home to introduce parenting skill development in areas such as recognizing babies’ needs and making the home safe.
Benge urges parents who feel overwhelmed to speak up.
“Just ask for help,” she said. “The state is very willing to help.”
According to Norton Children’s Hospital, parents on edge should realize it’s OK to step away for a moment and take a few deep breaths, or listen to a favorite song or call a friend. It’s important to keep a list of friends or family members to call for support.
Kentucky ranked far better in the report in the number of children (15) who died as a result of abuse in 2016; the state ranked 29th in the country. There were 1,750 deaths nationwide, according to the report.
The state saw a total of 102,990 referrals to child protective services in 2016, according to the report. About half (50.4 percent) resulted in reports.
In 2017, 509 children in Madison County were abused or neglected, according to CASA. A pinwheel for each was planted Friday outside the Madison County Courthouse as part of the annual child abuse awareness event put on by CASA and the Department for Community Based Services. The event is held each year in April, Child Abuse Awareness Month.
Experts offer advice that will help you raise a well-behaved child – instead of a brat.
By Dulce Zamora
Parenting is no walk in the park, especially on the days when your little angel, whether he’s 6 or 16, decides to act like a demon.
If it’s the temper tantrum in the toy store over the latest video game, or the daily fight over math homework, or the food fight in a restaurant on Friday night, parents have a choice: To react in a way that will only make matters worse when the bell rings for round two, or respond like the calm, cool, and collected parents we see on TV shows like Nanny 911 – after weeks of live-in, televised therapy.
What is the secret to their success, other than public humiliation?
“Overall, with any scenario, the worst thing a parent can do that helps bratty behavior blossom is to not set clear expectations and not have consequences to a child’s behavior,” says Jenn Berman, PhD, a psychologist in private practice in Beverly Hills who specializes in family therapy.
The TV Toy
It’s Saturday morning, you’re doing laundry, the kids are watching their morning cartoons, and it happens: Your middle child sees the toy of his dreams on TV, starts in with the begging, and doesn’t let up.
Brat-building response: “A lot of kids see things on TV – games, food, or dolls – and then they start nagging until they get it,” says Berman. “If you run to the store to buy your child exactly what they want, then you’ve taught them that nagging is an effective tool for getting their way.”
Angel-building response: “You can say, ‘It’s a cool toy. Let me find out how much it is, and I can help you save your allowance for it,'” says Berman. “You are teaching your child to work toward a goal – instead of giving in. It helps the child learn about goals, saving money, and it’s a good response for both parent and child.”
You’re having your boss over for dinner on Friday night, and while you begged your sister to watch the kids for the evening, no such luck. Is it time to start bribing them to be quiet with expensive sneakers or the latest handbag from Dolce & Gabbana?
Brat-building response: “Parents often try to buy good behavior by getting their kids expensive gifts,” says Berman. “And then they say, ‘I don’t understand why she isn’t better behaved? I get her everything she wants!'” These cool gifts lose their meaning and the child feels entitled and less well behaved.”
Angel-building response: “Allow the child the opportunity to earn what you give them, and set limits around their expectations,” says Berman. “Tell them, ‘You can get one pair of shoes within this amount of money.’ Teach them early on how to make choices.”
Her bags are packed and she’s ready to go to the sleepover, except for one thing: She forgot to ask for your permission.
Brat-building behavior: Even though she’s screaming bloody murder, if you let her get away with it once, she’ll do it again, and again and again. “You’ve taught your child that screaming long enough will get her what she wants, and now you’ve created your own private hell,” Berman tells WebMD.
Angel-building behavior: “As a parent, it is always considerate and helpful to let a child know your thinking, so your child knows why you don’t want her to go to the sleepover, so it doesn’t seem like you are being unreasonable,” says Berman. “But if you shared your reasoning, and she keeps yelling, you have to stand your ground.”
The Divide and Conquer
You’ve been very clear and given your son a decisive NO when he asked, “Can I go to the birthday party, puh-lease?” His tactic? To ask dad.
Brat-building behavior: “When a child gets ‘no’ from mom, and ‘yes’ from dad, it teaches them they can divide and conquer,” says Berman. “They learn that they can divide their parents and fool them, and if they are manipulative enough, they can get what they want.”
Angel-building behavior: “Enforce in advance,” says Berman. “Tell a child that if you ask mom and get ‘no,’ and then you ask dad and get ‘yes,’ the ‘no’ still stands, and your punishment for asking us both is xyz.”
The Screaming in the Store
We’ve all seen it: The screaming child in the toy store. He wants the latest video game, and he’s not shutting up until he has it.
Brat-building response: “If you give in, you teach your child that when he acts like a brat he can get what he wants,” says Dan Kindlon, author of Too Much of a Good Thing: Raising Children of Character in an Indulgent Age. “You’re reinforcing his bratty behavior.”
Angel-building response: “There are two ways to approach it,” says Kindlon, who teaches child psychology at Harvard University.
First, plan ahead, and second, plan a response.
“Make a deal with them beforehand – you are going to buy them something and it’s only going to cost $5,” says Kindlon. “Or tell them, ‘I’m going shopping for your cousin and this is not for you.’ Give them structure beforehand so they’re not caught off guard. Then, if they still explode in the store, ignore them, say you are not going to listen anymore. Then you leave the store and take them with you.”
The Car Ride
You have 300 miles in front of you when your youngest explodes in a temper tantrum that rivals the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.
Brat-building response: “If you just start yelling and screaming at her, it’s not going to help,” Kindlon tells WebMD. “And a major mistake most parents make is to give the child an ultimatum, like ‘If you keep this up you’re not going to watch TV when you get home.'”
But even though their tantrum continues ad nauseam, the TV goes on when the family gets home because the parent is beaten down.
“This teaches a child that the best way to get what they want is to behave like a brat,” says Kindlon.
Angel-building response: “Plan ahead,” says Kindlon “Bring snacks, games, and things to keep them entertained in the car. If that doesn’t work, help them understand the consequences of their behavior. Again, with the ultimatum, if you use one, stick to it: ‘If you don’t stop behaving this way, you don’t get to watch TV when you get home.'”
The Lack of Respect
Your kid just called you a name, or talked back, or showed you some all-around lack of what Aretha Franklin likes to call R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
Brat-building response: “If you sink to their level and use the same language back at them, you’re modeling bad behavior,” says Kindlon. “You’re teaching them the wrong way to deal with something and someone when you’re upset.”
Angel-building response: “Dock a kid fifty cents on their allowance when they use a tone of voice or an inappropriate word you don’t like,” says Kindlon. “Maintain your cool. Show mature behavior, and give them consequences for their bad behavior.”
You just sat down to dinner with your husband and three kids at a local restaurant when the outbursts start.
Brat-building behavior: “What happens is there is talk of punishment and threats at the restaurant, like ‘I’m going to take way your play date on Sunday,’ or ‘No TV for a week,'” says Paul Donahue, PhD, director of Child Development Associates in Scarsdale, N.Y. “Punishments don’t work as well as a rewards, or the threats are idle because the kid knows that the parent won’t take away their TV.”
Angel-building response: “Before you get to the restaurant, tell your child what you expect in terms of behavior,” says Donahue. “If your behavior is good, here is what privilege will come your way, whether its dessert at the restaurant, or that they get to watch a movie when they get home.”
Kids need to understand that their privileges are based on their behavior, explains Donahue.
While I’m not suggesting you bribe your kids or take them to Toys ‘R’ Us because they sit at the dinner table, they need to understand that the things they enjoy are privileges and they can have those things if they behave well,” says Donahue. “Kids have to have an understanding that good behavior is expected, and if they behave well, good things will come their way.”
The Morning Routine
It’s hard enough for you to get out of bed at 6 a.m., let alone get your two kids out of bed. Should you let them sleep late, just this once?
Brat-building response: “Sometimes kids come downstairs in the morning, they watch TV, they get around to eating their breakfast, they get dressed, the process gets delayed, mom or dad gets frustrated and angry, and maybe they make the bus, maybe the don’t,” says Donahue. Better yet, the whole routine starts over again the next day.
Angel-building response: “Kids shouldn’t come down and watch TV or play a video game first thing in the morning,” says Donahue. “It’s like saying you get to have this fun experience before you get dressed, brush your teeth, or do your work. You have to take care of your responsibilities first.”
As your child gets older and wiser, his pile of homework grows – as does the frustration you feel in making sure he gets it all done.
Brat-building response: “We want our kids to do well in school, and yet we are not clear that homework takes precedent over a play date or after-school activities,” says Donahue. “So then the homework gets left until after dinner, and then it’s diminishing returns: they’re tired, and it’s getting much more difficult to get them to do it, and they don’t have incentive to get it done.”
Angel-building response: “There needs to be a reasonable structure for homework,” says Donahue. “Say to your kids, ‘At 3 p.m. you get to play, but at 4 p.m., you sit down and do your homework.’ It’s especially important in most families that homework get done before dinner. Set the structure in place so when they are older and they have more activities, they know they still need to get homework done before dinner.”
No matter the scenario, here are tips for dealing with parenting pitfalls:
Mean business. “Speak to your child like you mean business, and send clear messages when you’re communicating with your kids,” says Donahue.
Stick to your guns. “The toughest thing is to have endurance,” says Donahue. “Stick to your guns, even when the kids are whining and pushing your buttons. Kids know that if we have a history of not sticking to what we say, they’re going to push and push. Have the endurance and the strength and the energy to keep up with them.”
Plan ahead. “Parents have to do a better job of helping kids to anticipate the behavior that is expected of them beforehand,” Donahue tells WebMD. “When you’re in the middle of a situation, you’re busy and rushing and don’t think about it, and then things can get out of control.”
Take care of yourself. “Sleep more, exercise, and take care of yourself,” says Donahue. “Parenting is extremely exhausting work.”