It started innocently enough, with two-year-old Jacob Jenkins requesting that they eat pizza for dinner. And so the Middlesborough family of three went to their local Pizza Hut and enjoyed the social occasion.
The next thing Abigail and Dave Jenkins knew, their son was choking on a grape taken from the restaurant’s snack bar.
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Distraught, the couple attempted to dislodge the blockage from their son’s airways. After many unsuccessful attempts, they rushed Jacob to the hospital. Unfortunately it had been too late and the two-year-old died.
“He…choked on one of those grapes and that led to a chain of events that tragically starved Jacob’s brain of oxygen and that was the reason why he died,” coroner Karen Dilks said. “I can reach no other conclusion that this was in every sense a tragic accident. My conclusion therefore is one of accidental death.”
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This wasn’t the first incident of children choking on their food, and it certainly won’t be the last. Arm yourself with these things to make sure your child doesn’t suffer from the same accident:
- Never leave a small child unattended while eating. Direct supervision is necessary.
- Cut your grapes into halves (lengthwise) or quarters. Always cut your grapes before feeding them your child, and remember to remove the seeds if any.
- Age does not matter. It doesn’t matter if your child can already chew his/her food properly. Grapes are the perfect size to block a child’s windpipe. Once the grape is stuck, the airway will be blocked completely.
- Educate caregivers. In a situation where your child is left in the care of someone else, teach them about choking hazards and precautions to take to prevent choking. Identify emergency resources and contacts.
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