Toddler chokes to death on a blackberry

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Robert Ford, 34, was carrying his 15-month-old son Thomas in a baby carrier on his back when he passed him blackberries to eat.

It started as a leisurely stroll between father and son in the fields. When Robert Ford saw some wild blackberries, he handed some to his fifteen-month-old son Thomas, strapped on his back.

Then he heard Thomas coughing, and when he looked back saw that his son was straining to breathe.

“I tried to undo the buckle around my waist but had difficulty,” Robert said. “I had to take off my jacket and pull Thomas out. I patted his back and tried the Heimlich maneuver, hoping to dislodge what was in his throat and causing him to choke.

Robert handed his mobile phone to his daughter Olivia, five, and asked her to call his wife Serena who was at home.

“I was doing things at home when my house phone rang. It was Olivia,” said Serena. “I was not surprised because sometimes they call me to let me know little things. I hear Robert shouting in the background that Thomas was choking and was blue. He must have said he was by the horses.”

Robert dialled 999 and talked to an ambulance controller for 15 minutes while his wife did CPR.

Paramedics took over resuscitation when they arrived and Thomas was flown to hospital by air ambulance helicopter.

He died in the arms of his parents on a sofa three days later in the hospital on September 30 after doctors concluded that he had “huge brain damage” and turned off his life support.

“I am satisfied that Thomas’s parents did absolutely everything that they could have done in response to the accident which occurred when Thomas started to choke,” coroner David Osborne said. “My conclusion is one of accident.”

Emergency situations

Moms, remember not to feed your child small foods that may get stuck on their windpipe causing them to choke. Feed them only bite sized pieces that have already been sliced.

If you suddenly find yourself in such situation however, there are certain things you can do, such as:

  • Hitting them firmly on their back between the shoulder blades to dislodge the object
  • Holding the child around the waist and pulling them upwards and inwards above their belly button to squeeze the air out of the lungs and clear the blockage
  • But if either methods don’t work, immediately call emergency hotlines for help