Last week, a UK mother of two made a near-fatal mistake, one which she will never forget. She then made the brave decision to reach out on Facebook as a warning to other parents and the response has been phenomenal.
“Last night Olivia nearly died,” she wrote. “And it was my fault.”
An easy mistake
Lara Lou Chambers gave her kids, Olivia and Oscar, a snack of grapes and dried cereal. Nothing unusual there. Normally she would cut the grapes up but this time decided her daughter was old enough to eat them whole.
“It was the first time since hearing about that poor child who died choking on a grape that I didn’t cut them in half,” she commented. “I figured- she’s almost 5, she isn’t the kind of kid to shovel food and choke, and I was rushing to finish cleaning the house.”
Last night Olivia nearly died. And it was my fault. I made her and Oscar a snack, handful of grapes and some dried…
Lara continued to vacuum but fortunately stopped just in time to hear her daughter choking. “I knew in an instant what had happened,” she said. “I ran to her. She couldn’t breathe. She had gone to chew a grape and it had shot to the back of her throat, gone down and got wedged.”
The desperate mum hit her daughter as hard as she could between the shoulder blades but nothing happened.
“She was looking me dead in the eyes and her lips turned blue as she couldn’t breathe.at.all,” she said. “Jamie finally managed to perform some manoeuvre on her that sent this grape pictured flying across the room.”
Please cut up grapes!
Lara is still distressed about what nearly happened and begs parents around the world to take care.
“I lay here now watching her sleep I’ve cried most the night & my heart hurts as I look at her chest where there are still nail indentations from where she clawed at her throat for air, PLEASE PLEASE let this be a reminder to all the parents out there – my life nearly changed forever last night all because of my carelessness.”
Words of support
Lara’s heartbreaking post has since gone viral with 55,000 shares and 12,000 comments, with people everywhere sending their words of support and sympathy.
“I bet that was the hardest post to put out there but from one parent to another thank you,” said one Facebook user. “We all think it wouldn’t happen to us but we are wrong. Thank you for reality checking all of us!!!”
“Thank you for sharing I know that had to be scary but I know your story will help save others,” said another.
Meanwhile, others took the opportunity to warn about other food items: “Marshmallows is the other one DEADLY a breath in can take them down the air pipe and then there is no weight in them to dislodge them,” was one comment.
Sarah Hunstead, a former paediatric nurse and the founder of CPR Kids, advises cutting up not only grapes for your children but also cherry tomatoes, blueberries, basically anything that can “fit through an old school film canister.” And don’t forget about sausages. “Kids love sausages, and often we just slice them up and those perfect little circles are great shape [to] lodge in your child’s airway,” she says. “Better to cut them into batons that your kid can pick up [and] gnaw on, rather than those perfect little circles.”
Luckily, at the end of the day, Lara’s daughter is safe and sound, despite the narrow escape. And while this is no doubt an experience Lara will never forget, by coming forward, she will help save the lives of others. As a mum, she was there when her daughter needed her most and that’s what counts. As one Facebook user, Brittany Sowden, said quite beautifully: “We all make mistakes we are human.”