Not until she was two and a half.
We were eating pistachio nuts - fun because she gets to help shell them - and healthy. Without warning, her face turned red and she looked at me with an expression I will never forget. "Mom," her eyes seemed to plead, "help me."
A nut was lodged in her precious little throat.
I grabbed my soundless child, pulled her off her chair and pushed her head down towards the floor, bending her in half. I thumped her back, but in my panic missed the optimum placement and hit her shoulder blade. I tried again, this time hitting her right in the middle of her upper back, but not hard enough. I took a deep breath and somewhat steadied my shaky arms, and forcefully, hard and accurately connected the third back blow right in the middle of her shoulder blades. Third time lucky - the nut flew out and hit the kitchen floor with the sound of a hockey puc.
My daughter stood up and looked in my eyes. She took her first breath for what felt like far too long, and then vomited right in my hand. Just a perfect handful, green from the pistachios! I slowly and calmly walked to the sink and washed my hand. I looked at my daughter and asked if she was ok. As she nodded I started to cry, and then she started. We stood there hugging each other and crying. She broke away too soon and went straight back to her toys, not really phased. I am still shaken.
Its quite incredible how your day can change. I can still remember details, as if in slow motion. I am eternally grateful that I knew what to do in such a situation, and that my gorgeous child is sitting on my lap munching on crushed up nuts as I write this. My message is that it can happen to anyone, anytime. All of us need to know the skill and be confident to use it.
I wish you all a very safe holiday season, and hope that 2012 is a year of happy, safe children!