'Just cut the damn grapes': mum's plea after 5-year-old undergoes surgery

This x-ray image shows how easily a grape can block a child's airways.
This x-ray image shows how easily a grape can block a child's airways. Photo: Facebook/Finlee and Me

My kids love to be high maintenance with food. Whose don't? "Can you cut my sausage?" "Can you not let my capsicum touch my carrot?" "Can you cut my grapes?"

I try to be amenable, but I have always said no to cutting the grapes. Just chew, lazy children!

But I might change my approach after seeing a post by Australian blogger Angela Henderson recently. She shared another family's story – and an alarming X-ray – on her Finlee and Me Facebook page. 

"Do you know what this X-ray is of? A grape!" the post reads.

"A grape that was lodged in the top of a 5-year-old's airway today.

"This sweet soul had to be operated on, under general anaesthetic to remove the grape.

"He is VERY lucky that part of his airway was open or else this could have ended badly. So please be mindful that not all kids chew their food, are in a rush at school to get in the playground.

The post has acted as a warning for many parents, being shared more than 25,000 times since last week.

Food accounts for over half of all choking episodes, according to HealthyChildren.org. The organisation recommend parents keep foods such as grapes, hot dogs, raw carrots and peanuts away from babies and young kids, and that parents supervise all meals.

"Cut food for babies and young children into pieces no larger than one-half inch (about 1.3cm)," they advise. "Encourage children to chew food well. Supervise meal times. Insist that children sit down while eating.

"Children should never run, walk, play, or lie down with food in their mouths. Be aware of older children's actions. Many choking incidents are caused when an older child gives a dangerous toy or food to a younger child."

As Angela wrote on her Finlee and Me Facebook page, "Please be careful. And when in doubt just cut the damn grapes."