Nicole Goddard admits that by the time you get to your third child, you tend to lose track of the “rules” about what to avoid. That’s how she ended up giving popcorn to her toddler.

As PopSugar reports, the Goddard family was enjoying a family movie night in late February. The mom-of-three let her toddler son, Nash, have a bit of popcorn. As Nicole wrote on Facebook, Nash choked slightly, but seemed to be okay:

I didn’t think twice to give Nash popcorn. Nash had small choking episode but was fine. We didn’t see anything come out so we assumed he swallowed it. He seemed completely fine and continued to watch the movie.

After the movie, the mom noticed that Nash had developed a slight cough. When he still had the cough the next day, Nicole became concerned but assumed it was just “the same crud” the rest of the family had gone through.

Now that I’ve had a chance to sit and reflect on a very unfortunate but eye opening event that our family encountered. I…

Posted by Nicole Johnson Goddard on Sunday, February 24, 2019

Two days after the family movie night, Nicole’s husband left for a business trip. Nash seemed the same as before, but that night, he got worse. As the worried mom watched him struggle to breathe, she decided it was time to consult a doctor:

As the evening came I noticed Nash felt warm and he was super fussy. He had a fever, so I gave him Motrin and put him to bed. A very long night with him and then his breathing looked a little labored to me and he just didn’t feel good.

Nicole called the pediatrician, who told her to get her son checked out immediately. She took Nash to the hospital, where doctors gave him a chest X-ray. The results were alarming enough that the doctor scheduled a bronchoscopy that evening so they could take a better look at what was going on in the toddler’s lungs.

Nash’s father, Jake, rushed back from his business trip and got to the hospital just in time to learn the results of the procedure. Nash had pieces of popcorn in his lungs:

He had aspirated popcorn into his lungs when he choked. The body recognized it as a foreign object and put puss pockets around it. All the inflammation caused him to develop pneumonia in his left lung.

The inflammation was so bad that it took two separate procedures for doctors to be sure they’d removed all the pieces of popcorn from Nash’s lungs. Fortunately, he recovered and was able to go home soon after his second surgery.

Thankful that her son was okay, Nicole was still stunned at the damage caused by popcorn, something they eat regularly in the Goddard home. If she hadn’t followed up on Nash’s nagging cough, her son could have been in serious danger:

If I wouldn’t have trusted my instinct and brought him in, the outcome wouldn’t have been good.

Nicole admitted that the guidelines we follow so strictly for a first child — like cutting up grapes and hot dogs and avoiding certain foods — tend to fall by the wayside when you get to the third one:

I got a lecture of course on how popcorn isn’t supposed to be given to anyone under 5. I hate to use the excuse he’s our third child so I overlook and don’t pay as close attention to the do’s and dont’s as we did with our first.

Though worried about the judgment of strangers online, Nicole decided to share her story in the hopes of warning other parents about the dangers of giving popcorn to young children.

“[S]omething that you think is fine can quickly turn into something bad!” she wrote. “Always trust your gut because it’s right!”

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4 Replies to “Toddler Develops Cough After ‘Choking’ on Popcorn. He Accidentally Inhaled Pieces Into His Lungs”

  • Maggie 7 months ago

    I am a grandmom of 7 two are under 1 I did not know this thank you.

  • Melanie 7 months ago

    No popcorn until they are 5 years old according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. May I add too hot dogs are the top related choking food for children under age 3. Cut that dog lengthwise and into small pieces til they are 5 or older. Same with hard candy, grapes and nuts. There is a choking death in children every 5 days according to statistics.

  • Anonymous 7 months ago

    Please don’t feel bad the awareness is so helpful! When my eldest daughter was 8 I gave her a buttermenthol for her sore throat luckily I was sitting right beside her as it got perfectly lodged in her throat and she could not talk, I did the back blows and it eventually became dislodged, I took her to the hospital as it didn’t come out and we had to ensure it wasn’t lodged further down her lung, (found out it was swallowed after being dislodged) I wanted to raise awareness about the sander of hard lollies like buttermenthols- but felt so so bad that I was the one who gave her the buttermenthol. So thanks for sharing you’re braver than me and these things do happen, it’s good to remind people.

  • Kylie Huntington 7 months ago

    The above re the buttermenthol was by

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Toddler Develops Cough After ‘Choking’ on Popcorn. He Accidentally Inhaled Pieces Into His Lungs

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