What To Do If Your Child Is Choking

Child Chokes on Grapes Pizza Hut

A two-year-old boy has died in hospital five days after choking on a grape in a Pizza Hut restaurant.

BBC News reports:

Two-year-old Jacob Jenkins reportedly stopped breathing for 30 minutes after swallowing the fruit on Friday. Parents Abigail Wilson and David Jenkins chose to turn off his life support on Wednesday, at the moment well-wishers released balloons.

A spokesperson for Pizza Hut told the BBC that grapes have been removed from its menu with immediate effect, and that the company was devastated to learn of the little boy's tragic death.

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, a child dies in the UK every month from choking, and babies and toddlers are most at risk due to their tendency to put things in their mouths.

The organisation offers this advice for reducing the risk of choking:

Avoid small, round food items, and limit the following foods to children over the age of four:

  • Peanuts
  • Whole grapes
  • Boiled sweets
  • Hot dogs
  • Chocolate eggs with small toys inside

Always keep the following objects out of reach of children:

  • Coins, pins, screws, beads
  • Lithium or 'button' batteries
  • Balls smaller than 1¾ inches (4.45 cm)
  • Deflated balloons or pieces of a burst balloon

ROSPA also offers this advice on what to do if you think your child is choking:

  • Most of the time, an object which disappears into a child’s mouth will be swallowed and make its way through the body naturally.
  • Coughing and breathing difficulties are signs that the object may have gone into the windpipe. This is serious - get medical attention straight away.
  • If your child is still awake and breathing, don’t do anything apart from encouraging his/her own efforts and calling for medical help.
  • Do NOT slap your child on the back whilst he/she is upright.
  • Do NOT put your fingers into your child’s mouth to feel for the object - you are most likely to push it further down or cause bleeding.

You can click here for more detailed information about what to do if your child loses consciousness or is unable to breathe after choking, and watch the Chokeables video from St Johns Ambulance to remind yourself what to do if your child chokes.

You can also download a free Baby & First Aid App here from the British Red Cross.

And if you'd like to brush up on your own First Aid skills, it's also worth checking out Millie's Trust, a charitable organisation which aims to make First Aid training available to everyone.

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