Lifeguard Who Saved Choking Baby During First Medical Rescue Awarded 3 Times With Highest Honors

by Amy Paige
Amy is the Director of Trending Content at LittleThings. After graduating from Florida State University with a creative writing degree, she moved straight to New York City to pursue a career in the arts. She loves discovering and sharing viral videos, watching movies with her Muppet-like poodle mix named Cali, and doing the robot whenever possible.

Peter LaQuaglia started lifeguarding at the age of 15. At 5-foot-11 and 205 pounds, the now 20-year-old college linebacker from New Jersey seems like just the person you’d want around during an emergency.

One day during roll call, according to, “Seaside Heights Beach Patrol Capt. Rob Connor warned his crew that it felt like one of those days when there was a particular need ‘to be ready for anything.’ He advised the mostly college-age guards on duty to brush up on their first aid protocols and remain vigilant.”

But as the day got off to a slow and uneventful start, Peter left his post on the beach to grab some lunch along the boardwalk. Suddenly, he heard the sound of a woman screaming bloody murder.

Peter dropped his slice of pizza and took off running toward the screams. He found a frantic woman begging for help while her 10-month-old grandson choked on a plastic ring that had broken off from the nozzle of an open water bottle. Some people just passed her by, ignoring her pleas for help.

By this point, the helpless baby had stopped breathing. Peter tapped into his quick-thinking skills, despite the fact he’d never been faced with a medical rescue before.

He grabbed the baby boy from his grandmother and, during “one of the craziest experiences of my life,” became a real-life hero — worthy of all the praise and attention he’s been getting ever since (and he’s been getting a lot of attention).

In fact, Peter’s act of heroism has been awarded several times over, including one of New Jersey’s highest honors — a joint resolution from the state legislature.

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