It only took a moment for the toddler to sneak a few grapes into his mouth
Choking is a huge fear for parents of young kids, and with good reason. It’s terrifying to imagine having to jump into action to give your child CPR if something gets caught in their throat, but having that knowledge could be what saves them.
That’s why a couple who lost their toddler after he choked on a grape is speaking out about the importance of knowing first aid in the hopes that future tragedy can be prevented.
Detroit mom Emma Carver was shopping for cheese at the grocery store with two-year-old son Ayyan Umar when she heard the toddler start to make choking noises. Ayyan had discovered grapes in the cart and snuck two of them into his mouth when Carver wasn’t looking.
“I even threw the cheese down and I started banging on him,” Carver tells WXYZ, as she recounts her attempts to dislodge whatever was caught in his throat. “But it wasn’t getting it out, so it had to be lodged.”
Fellow shoppers came to their immediate aid with one calling 911 and another trying CPR on the little boy. EMS arrived only six minutes later and were able to remove one of the grapes, but by then, it was already too late.
“I was feeling like maybe it was a bad dream,” says his father Mohammad Umar. “I see him everywhere.”
Parents (and any adult who spends time with young children) would be wise to take Carver’s advice. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the list of things a little one could choke on is extensive and includes all kinds of things found in most homes: coins, buttons, balloons, hot dogs, nuts and seeds, chunks of meat or cheese, and yes, whole grapes.
Ayyan’s tragic death is a reminder that even if we’re careful to avoid giving our kids those items or foods, they can still find them either on their own, or through an older sibling. We know how easy it is to be briefly distracted — it’s literally not possible to watch a child every single second.
And sadly, a second is all it takes.
That’s why it’s crucially important to have a working knowledge of CPR and first aid, and the American Red Cross has you covered with both in-person and online classes. Even if you took a course several years ago, take it again.
It could mean the difference between a life saved and a life lost.