Finding a healthy snack—one that your kids will enjoy—is a struggle for a lot of parents. Since most children are attracted to the brightness and sugary taste of fresh fruit, grapes are always a favorite. They are also extremely dangerous if not cut properly, and one mom learned this lesson the hard way.
After a grape became lodged in her 5-year-old son's throat, an anonymous mother gave Australian blogger Angela Henderson permission to share his horrific experience (and mind-boggling X-ray) on Facebook to warn others about the dangers of serving whole grapes to small children.
"Do you know what this X-ray is of?" Henderson asked. "A grape!"
Thankfully, the obstruction was too small to block the boy's entire airflow. It was, however, big enough to require surgery under general anesthesia. For this reason, Henderson added a few suggestions on how to avoid making this potentially deadly mistake.
"Please be mindful that not all kids chew their food, are in a rush at school to get in the playground, etc.," she wrote. "Please be careful. And when in doubt just cut the damn grapes [and] baby tomatoes."
According to reports, a child will die every five days in the United States from choking on food. Although hot dogs pose one of the biggest threats to children under the age of 4, "kid-friendly" snacks like grapes, popcorn and nuts aren't far behind.
So, what can parents and caregivers do to prevent children from choking? Easy, just follow these life-saving tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
—Never give toddlers hard candy, nuts, seeds, raw carrots or anything else comparable in size or consistency to eat.
—Round or firm foods such as hot dogs and grapes should always be cut into very small pieces before serving. Hot dogs should be cut lengthwise and grapes cut into quarters.
—Do not allow small children to run, play or lie down while eating.
—Make sure you read the warning labels on toys before giving them to a young child, and keep all coins, small toys and other similar items out of their reach at all times. If you're unsure about dimension and safety, a small parts test device (available at most toy stores) is a quick way to determine whether an object is too small for your child.
Most important, never rule out the importance of education. Even the most diligent parent—those that slice and puree every last morsel—can benefit from taking a class on first aid for choking and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Take it from this lucky mom—it's better to be safe than sorry.