Grieving parents urge others to learn first aid after toddler chokes on grapes

Posted in Safety.

The parents of a little boy who fatally choked on some grapes at their local supermarket are urging others to brush up on life-saving first aid skills in the hope that they can spare other families similar heartbreak.

Shopping trip

Michigan mum Emma Carver was shopping with her little boy when the devastating incident occurred. She’d been filling their trolley with things from their list when things went terribly wrong, very quickly.

Emma told that she was in the dairy section of their local supermarket, looking at cheese when Ayyan began to make choking sounds. She quickly sprang into action, trying to help her son.

“I threw the cheese down and I started banging on him,” Emma said. “But it wasn’t getting it out, so it had to be lodged.”

Emma says she didn’t even realise her little guy had been sneakily snacking on the grapes she’d put in her trolley earlier.

Emergency response

As the seriousness on the situation became apparent very quickly, a nearby shopper called emergency services. Another tried to perform CPR on 2-year-old Ayyan.

When the ambulance arrived between 5 and 7 minutes later, paramedics managed to remove a grape from Ayyan’s throat.

Sadly, at this point, it was just too late. Emma’s little boy had already passed away. It’s impossible to fathom, really.

second grape was later removed, when the devastated family reached the hospital with their son.

“I was feeling like maybe it was a bad dream, maybe somebody gonna wake me up,” Ayyan’s dad, Mohammad Umar said.

Toddler eating grapes

Prevention and awareness

The grieving family are now undertaking first aid training, in the hopes of preventing further tragedies. They also hope that parents and carers will use their experience as a prompt to refresh vital first-aid skills.

It’s also really worth noting that danger can lurk where we least expect it – especially when we’re out and about, and possibly distracted.

Grapes should be cut into quarters before being offered to small children – and all eating should be supervised.

Common choking hazards for children include:

  • Food: lollies, raw apples, pieces of meat (including chicken and fish), nuts, raw carrots, uncooked peas, seeds (including popcorn kernels), grapes, fruit pips and stones, hot dogs and sausages
  • Household items: coins, small batteries, the tops off pens and markers, and jewellery
  • Toys and toy parts: plastic shapes, marbles, the eyes of stuffed toys and balloons (uninflated or popped)
  • Garden objects: pebbles, bark, berries

You can enrol for first aid classes via your local St John’s Ambulance. 

Watch the videos below to view the best first aid response for a choking baby:

Our deepest sympathies go out to this family.


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