updated 2/26/2005 5:58:48 PM ET 2005-02-26T22:58:48

A mother’s decision to teach her 3-year-old daughter sign language may have saved her life.

Kristin Comeau began to cough uncontrollably and have difficulty breathing on Wednesday. The Long Island mother dialed 911, but her throat closed up and prevented her from speaking when the operator answered.

Comeau, who had taught her daughter, Ruby, sign language as a hobby, said she signed the word “help” to her daughter, and the little girl repeated it to the 911 operator.

Ruby also gave the operator her address, as she had been taught by her father.

Comeau was taken to a hospital, where she recovered from what she believes was a severe allergic reaction.

“I couldn’t believe how well she did,” Comeau told Newsday.

Ruby’s 8-month-old brother, Nick, also is being taught sign language. He “can sign ’milk’ to me. You take your hand and just squeeze it like you’re pumping it out of a cow,” Comeau said.

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