Merriam police officer saves 2-year-old from choking on IKEA meatball

Kristin Jasinski
Officer Kristin Jasinski received her second Life Saving Award this year for saving a toddler when she choked on a meatball at IKEA.

The Merriam police officer hadn’t started her shift yet when she got the call. But within minutes, Officer Kristin Jasinski had saved a toddler’s life after the little girl had started choking on a meatball at IKEA.

“I was a matter of seconds away, got there and got flagged down almost immediately,” she said of the incident that took place Thursday, Oct. 4. “It was very obvious what was happening: She had something stuck in her throat.”

Jasinski asked the toddler’s father to flip her over so she could perform the Heimlich maneuver.

“She was getting a little bit of respiration, but not enough to sustain her for very long,” Jasinski said. “We were eventually able to get that up.”

Chief Michael Daniels honored Jasinski Monday evening at the Merriam council meeting with her second Life Saving Award this year.

“She managed to do the Heimlich maneuver and get the meatball dislodged, and the 2-year-old is now fine,” Daniels said.

Jasinski also received a Life Saving Award in January for reviving an unresponsive Merriam man by shocking his chest with a defibrillator and performing CPR.

“I just so happened to be literally less than a block away, so I was able to get over there pretty quickly,” she said of that night, when she immediately recognized his signs of agonal respiration. She continued to administer shocks and CPR, which kept him breathing until the ambulance arrived.

Jasinski joined the Merriam police with eight years of military experience in a medical role. She handles medical teaching and training for her fellow police officers, including combat casualty care and tactical medicine.

“I’m pretty bashful of the attention; I try to stay out of the spotlight,” Jasinski said. “It’s nice to work for a department that makes a real effort to recognize our hard work and our commitment to the community and the department, to what we do. It’s nice they go out of their way to show us that they appreciate and recognize that.”