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Sheriff’s Deputies Help Save Life of Toddler Found Choking on Chumash Reservation

Cota
Lah’nee Cota, 18 months, has made a full recovery after choking and becoming unresponsive Saturday on the Chumash reservation. (Courtesy photo)

Two Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies are credited with helping to save the life of an 18-month-old child on Saturday who was found choking on the Chumash reservation.

About 2 p.m., sheriff’s deputies responded to an unrelated call at a residence in the 100 block of Sanja Cota when a neighbor, Amber Cota, came running outside screaming for help holding her daughter, Lah’nee (Lah-nay) Cota.

The toddler was choking, unresponsive and purplish in color.

Sheriff’s deputies Brian Flick and Jorden Walker immediately took Lah’nee from her mother and began efforts to dislodge any items that may be blocking her airway. They conducted a series of “back blows” followed by the infant Heimlich maneuver (or sternum thrust) and then a finger sweep to ensure her airway was clear.

About 30 seconds later, the child was able to breathe on her own even though her breathing was labored. The deputies took Lah’nee inside the residence and stayed with her until personnel from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department and American Medical Response arrived.

Lah’nee was transported to a local hospital for further evaluation and since then has made a full recovery. Today, her mother expressed appreciation for the efforts made to save Lah’nee’s life.

“We are incredibly grateful to the deputies for their actions," Cota said. "Every second mattered; this was a life or death situation. They did not hesitate and cared for her as if she was their own child. On behalf of the Cota family we thank them.”

In January, a new sheriff’s sub-station opened on the Chumash reservation allowing for not only faster response times on the reservation but for the entire Santa Ynez Valley as well.

— Kelly Hoover is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

 
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