Justin Morrice, a dad from Saskatchewan, Canada, was feeding his daughter the same snack he had fed her several times before when she suddenly started to choke. The next few minutes passed in a flurry of panic, as he tried however he could to stop the choking, before ultimately pulling the remnants of the snack out of her throat with his fingers.
In the end, his daughter thankfully wound up being fine, but those frightening moments, spent gripped in fear, stuck with him. It wasn’t long before he decided to share his story, in hopes it might be a learning experience for other parents, too.
Morrice isn’t blaming the product itself for the choking (his daughter was munching on Gerber Lil’ Crunchies, Mild Cheddar flavor at the time); but in a Facebook post shared August 21, the new dad warns that parents should always read labels extra-carefully before feeding their children snacks — just in case. Morrice shared that he left the product open for days longer than the packaging recommends, which caused the snacks to harden, and ultimately turned them into a choking hazard.
Morrice’s hope in sharing his story is that maybe he can somehow prevent others from going through what he did — or worse. And his now-viral Facebook post is doing just that, as well as underscoring just how quickly it can happen:
“As I had just finished feeding my daughter I set some of these cheesies on her highchair tray as a dessert for finishing her snack,” Morrice’s post begins. “Well in less than 10 seconds, I had turned to rinse her bowl in the sink … turned back and saw her gasping for air. She was trying to cry but no sound was coming out.”
I’m pretty sure that seeing your baby choking has got to be, hands-down, one of the most terrifying moments a parent could ever experience. It’s worrisome enough to begin the process of feeding your child solids. You scour the baby books, seek advice from our pediatrician, and make sure you know which foods are safe to feed your baby.
But would you know what to do if your baby was ever in a situation like this?
In his post, Morrice recounts flipping his daughter over, performing back blows, and checking her throat for the stuck snack. He doesn’t mention specifically if he’s ever taken an infant CPR class, but many of the things he did are actually what the American Red Cross recommends doing if you have a conscious baby who is choking. (The Red Cross also recommends that all families enroll in Infant and Child CPR classes, as nothing beats real-life demonstrations of these techniques.)
Once Morrice finally removed the cheese snack from his daughter’s mouth, he finally knew it was all okay when he heard the sound of her cries. (I don’t know about you, but when I read this far into his story — even though I knew his daughter would be fine in the end — I was genuinely relieved, too.)
“I was confused as she had ate them days before with no problem,” Morrice continues. “After scanning the can my mom found this ‘warning’ in tiny letters on their side to throw contents out after five days of breaking the seal. I opened a new container and I could not believe the difference. The ones in the can she choked on I can only describe to be like a foam ear plug. I could squish it but it would expand back out and would not break apart. The ones in the new can crumbled with ease.”
Wow. I would say that’s a pretty dramatic difference — particularly since finger foods for babies definitely need to be soft or easily dissolvable in the mouth. But I’m sure many of us could have easily made a similar mistake if we were in this dad’s shoes; especially if our child had eaten the snack with no problem before. Morrice’s post serves as a chilling reminder that it only takes a second for something truly terrifying like choking to happen.
And believe me — I know from experience.
When my son was a little over a year old, he choked on an apple slice. He was my first child, and I was a very cautious parent. At that point, he’d eaten all manners of foods easily, including firmer foods like bread crusts and pretzels. So I didn’t think anything of it when there was a bowl of peeled, sliced apples set out for him to munch on at a party. I watched him carefully eat a few, and he seemed to be doing just fine.
But what I hadn’t realized is that he was gobbling up the apple slices at an alarming rate, and before I knew it, he was choking. I didn’t know CPR at that point, but I had seen enough posters in restaurants, so I had a basic idea of what to do. I flipped him over and starting vigorously tapping his back.
Eventually, he coughed up a whole apple slice. And yes, his cry in that moment was the most beautiful sound I’d ever heard.
I learned later that apple slices are in fact choking hazards for children under 4, and I promptly memorized everything that was on the list of choking hazards for toddlers. I also ended up enrolling in an Infant and Child CPR class not too long after.
As a parent who’s gone through it myself, I feel truly awful for anyone who has to go through something as terrifying as watching your child choke, but I’m also glad this dad is sharing his story as a wake-up call to parents everywhere. Most of all, I’m just overjoyed that his daughter is absolutely fine now.More On