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Slicing grapes the right way could save your child’s life

Sophie Jackson’s toddler almost choked to death on a grape and she’s issued a warning on social media that every parent should listen to.

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The East Yorkshire mum has shared the horrific story of her 2-year-old son Jake turning blue after a grape became stuck in his throat. Jake went floppy and passed out from lack of oxygen and was only saved when his grandmother managed to pierce the skin of the grape and remove it from his throat.

In Sophie’s Facebook post, which has now gone viral with over 80,000 shares, she confirms that, after being rushed to hospital, Jake is “home and well with just trauma to his throat” but that doctors and nurses said he was “extremely lucky to be alive.”

“Please cut your child’s grapes. Please tell everyone to cut your child’s grapes,” added Sophie, who also posted a diagram reminding parents to slice grapes lengthways so that if they do become stuck the airways will not be completely blocked.

How to slice grapes for kids
Image: Sophie Jackson/Facebook

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Last month 2-year-old Jacob Jenkins from Hartlepool died after choking on a grape in a Pizza Hut restaurant. He was the third British child to die in this way in the last 10 years. Pizza Hut have since announced that they have stopped serving grapes in their restaurants as a safety measure.

It’s not only grapes that can present a choking hazard — any small, round fruits, including cherry tomatoes and blueberries, can pose a danger by getting lodged in a child’s windpipe.

As well as slicing fruit lengthways and keeping all objects that could become a choking hazard (including small toys like Lego bricks, marbles, beads and batteries) out of reach, knowing how to help a choking child is vital.

If you can see the object try to remove it with care. If your child is coughing there’s no need to do anything but encourage them to keep coughing and stay by their side, advises the NHS. If the coughing is silent, or your child can’t breathe in properly, use back blows to try to dislodge the object.

For a baby under a year old, sit down and place them face down along your thighs while supporting their head with your hand. Using the heel of one hand, give them up to five sharp back blows in the middle of their back, between their shoulder blades. If the child is over one year, place them face down on your lap or (for a bigger child) support them in a forward-leaning position and give five back blows from behind.

If back blows don’t work and the child is still conscious give chest thrusts to infants under one year or abdominal thrusts to children over one year. This creates an artificial cough, increasing pressure in the chest and helping to dislodge the object.

Visit the NHS for a detailed guide to helping a choking child.

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