Grapes As A Choking Hazard: Doctors Say Lack Of Awareness Puts Young Children At Risk
Grapes are dangerous for young children, as they can choke to death when eating the entire grape berries. There have already been three choking cases in Scotland, out of which two turned out to be fatal, involving boys who were 5 or younger.
Report On Young Children Choking With Grapes
A report published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood notes that food is responsible for more than half of the choking incidents which end in deaths when it comes to children under the age of 5. A child who was 5 choked because of eating whole grapes at an after-school club. While the first-aid workers tried to dislodge the grape, the child went into cardiac arrest. Despite the paramedics' efforts and the special equipment, the boy couldn't make it.
A similar case involved another boy, aged 17 months, who went through the same type of choking incident while at home. While this time the fruit was removed, the child's life could not be saved.
According to the report, there should be coordinated actions to increase awareness among parents and tutors, who should better supervise the children so as not to eat full grapes.
"There is general awareness of the need to supervise young children when they are eating ... but knowledge of the dangers posed by grapes and other similar foods is not widespread," noted Dr. Jamie Cooper, co-author of the report, from the emergency department at Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital.
According to the same report, there is no awareness concerning the specific risks that soft fruits raise, and the relatively small numbers of cases per hospital which occur every year don't fully reflect the extent to which this issue can affect young children
Grapes – Leading Cause Of Food-Related Death Among Children
"This retrospective study collected injury data from 1989 to 1998 for 26 pediatric hospitals in the United States and Canada. Aspiration, choking, ingestion, and insertion injuries due to food items were analyzed. The data included 1429 infants and children. Results were compared with fatality data published by the American Association of Pediatrics in 1984", noted the research.
There are two reasons why grapes are so dangerous, especially in very young children: first, because the airways of the children are small and their swallow reflex is not fully developed, and second due to the smooth texture of the fruit.
Other potentially dangerous food products are tomatoes, along with any other fruit with a similar texture. According to the pediatric advice, these should be cut in half twice, in order to ensure a minimum of safety among children. Additionally, children should be taught to pay attention when eating these types of fruit, and not do it mechanically – while watching TV, for instance.