A shocked mother has issued a warning to other parents after her toddler fell seriously ill when eating popcorn.
Nicole Goddard, from Parker, Colorado in the USA, took to social media to spread the word when her youngest son, Nash, ended up needing surgery after choking on the snack.
Toddler needed surgery after choking on popcorn
The ordeal taught the young family that popcorn can be highly dangerous to under-fives.
Ms Goddard was sitting down to watch a film with husband Jake and their three children when two year old Nash started gagging while eating the popcorn.
Shortly afterwards he was breathing normally, however this was not the end of it, as Ms Goddard explained in her Facebook post.
“He seemed completely fine and continued to watch the movie. The only thing we observed was a cough he developed after the episode. The next day he was fine but still had a weird sounding cough which concerned me a little,” she wrote.
As the rest of the family had been suffering from a cold that week, Ms Goddard simply assumed that Nash had caught the bug she had. But then, as the evening progressed, the toddler’s behaviour started to indicate something was very wrong.
“As the evening came I noticed Nash felt warm and he was super fussy. He had a fever, so I gave him Motrin and put him to bed,” Ms Goddard wrote.
“[We had] a very long night with him and then his breathing looked a little laboured to me and he just didn’t feel good. I called my paediatrician immediately and said Nash needs to be seen ASAP.
“We went in and got sent to children’s main campus immediately. After a chest X-ray the doctor didn’t like what he saw so he got scheduled that evening for a Bronchoscopy.
“At 6pm they put Nash under and performed the procedure. I paced and cried the entire time my little man was in surgery.”
Pneumonia developed after popcorn ended up in lungs
The doctors told Ms Goddard that Nash had aspirated popcorn into his lungs when he choked. The body recognised the popcorn as a foreign object and put puss pockets around it. The inflammation caused Nash to develop pneumonia.
Even after the doctors cut out six pieces of popcorn from the boy they were still not sure the job was done, and so Nash went back into surgery two days later.
Ms Goddard said, “It was a an up and down roller coaster but we were in the best care.
“The doctor met us when it was over and said procedure was successful and he got the last piece out. Nash was a rock star and recovered well.
“We’re so thankful our little man came out okay. All of this over popcorn which is eaten on a regular basis in our home.”
Advice for parents
Experts in children’s health have explained that young children are more at risk from choking on food as they are not as able to chew and swallow effectively.
Ashley Martin, Public Health Project Manager at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said, “Babies and small children are most at risk from choking.
“Young children can also swallow, inhale or choke on items such as small toys, popcorn and marbles. Ensure these types of objects are kept out of reach of children under three years old.”