When parents think about potential dangers to their children, they don’t usually think about fruit. But one photo shows why they should.
According to Kidspot, Angela Henderson, a mom blogger from Australia, shared an X-ray that demonstrates how hazardous a simple grape can be.
Attention Parents!Do you know what this X-ray is of? A grape!A grape that was lodged in the top of a 5 year olds…
Henderson posted the photo on Facebook, noting that the round object is actually a grape “lodged” in the airway of a 5-year-old child:
“This sweet soul had to be operated on, under general anesthetic to remove the grape.
He is very lucky that part of his airway was open or else this could have ended badly.”
Henderson said the X-ray came to her from a pediatrician and the boy’s mother, both of whom thought it was important to raise awareness of choking hazards in children.
While parents of toddlers tend to be alert to the need to cut up food into small bites to prevent choking, parents of older children may not realize that the danger doesn’t stop at age 3. Henderson wrote on Facebook:
“Please be mindful that not all kids chew their food, are in a rush at school to get in the playground etc.
Please be careful. And when in doubt just cut the damn grapes, baby tomatoes, etc.”
According to the New York Department of Health, choking is the fourth leading cause of unintentional death for children under 5, with 12,000 kids going to the emergency room every year for choking-related issues.
It adds that in the U.S., one child dies every five days due to choking and that food is the most common cause of nonfatal choking. Moreover, certain foods have proved to be consistently hazardous.
A study in Pediatrics found that candy (especially hard candy), followed by meat and bone, were the most common culprits in nonfatal choking incidents among children.
A separate study in the Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology determined that hot dogs were the most fatal food when it comes to childhood choking incidents — though grapes followed closely behind.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises that whole grapes, popcorn, hot dogs, nuts, seeds, hard or sticky candy (including gum), and chunks of food (meat, cheese, vegetables, and peanut butter) be kept away from children under age 4. Small toys and household items are also hazardous.
The AAP stresses that food for young children should be cut into pieces smaller than one-half inch and that kids should sit while eating (not run, play, or lie down) and chew food thoroughly.
Some experts believe certain foods should come with warning labels about the choking danger. Child advocate Katrina Phillips told the Guardian:
“[Many parents] just don’t realize how easily a young child can choke to death on a grape. But they’re vulnerable because they’re still learning to chew and their airway is tiny, so a whole grape can completely block it.”
In the meantime, they stress the need to let parents know how important it is to cut up grapes and similar foods.