A Michigan mother is urging parents to attend infant CPR classes after her young son choked to death while eating grapes.
Emma Carver was grocery shopping when her 2-year-old son, Ayyan Umar, began eating some of the grapes in her cart, reports WXYZ.
Carver, who was looking at cheese, did not notice until she heard her son making choking sounds.
"His lips turned blue," she recalls. "His fingers all turned blue."
"I even threw the cheese down and I started banging on him," adds Carver. "But it wasn't getting it out, so it had to be lodged."
When she was unsuccessful, another shopper attempted CPR while a second called 911.
A little over five minutes later, emergency medical workers arrived on the scene. They were able to dislodge one grape, but it was too late.
Before they could even take Ayyan to the hospital, the child died.
"I was feeling like maybe it was a bad dream, maybe somebody gonna wake me up," Carver's husband and Ayyan's father Mohammad Umar said while sobbing. "He sleeps on my chest. I see him everywhere."
Since then, Carver has signed up for a first-aid course and encouraged other parents to do the same.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, choking is the leading cause of death in children 3 years old and younger.
"We’ve heard from thousands of parents and carers on Facebook and many just don’t realize how easily a young child can choke to death on a grape," said Katrina Phillips, chief executive of England's Child Accident Prevention Trust, The Guardian reports. "But they’re vulnerable because they’re still learning to chew and their airway is tiny, so a whole grape can completely block it. We hope these case reports go a long way to raising awareness of the risk and the simple steps families can take to keep children safe."
The AAP says certain foods pose more of a danger than others: grapes, hot dogs, popcorn, hard candy, nuts, seeds and raw carrots are just a few.
"Cut foods such as grapes and other fruits, meat, cheese and raw vegetables into small pieces and shapes that won’t block airways," the AAP advises. "Cut hot dogs lengthwise as well as widthwise."
The AAP agrees with Carver that knowing CPR is key should all else fail: "Because it is impossible to prevent all choking episodes, parents can prepare for emergencies by learning CPR and choking first aid."