SOUTH PASADENA ( — A 9-year-old South Pasadena boy was recognized Thursday for helping to save his younger sister as she choked on a grape.

Jaequon Santos’ 3-year-old sibling was choking on Jan. 19 when he called 911 to ask for help, South Pasadena police said.

Arriving officers found the toddler unconscious with extremely labored breathing and tried to dislodge the grape, but were unsuccessful. The paramedics who showed up moments later also were unable to dislodge the grape.

The girl was rushed to a hospital, where doctors were able to remove the grape. She fully recovered with no lasting damage, police said.

South Pasadena police Chief Art Miller honored the boy during a special presentation Thursday morning, along with a Starbucks employee who was on his way to work when he stopped to help and perform CPR and the first responders.

Jaequon said he knew he had to call 911 to save his sister’s life, and he’s thankful she’s alive.

“It means a lot,” the boy said. “It means the world.”

Jennifer Santos said she is proud of her son, and noted that she taught him how to call 911 when the family moved to the United States in 2008.

“I had trusted him that he could do it,” Jennifer Santos said. “We had a lot of practice with that.”

Police dispatcher Stephanie Barrientos, who took the call form Jaequon, says it is important for youngsters to know how to call 911, and to memorize their home address and phone number.

Up to 34 children are treating for choking per day in the United States, according to a study published last year.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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