Mom Warns Other Parents After 2-Year-Old Son Chokes to Death on Grapes

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. Earlier in August, Emma Carver, a mom from Detroit, was grocery shopping with her son, Ayyan Umar, when he choked to death on two grapes.

Mohammad Umar and Emma Carver
Parents Mohammad Umar and Emma Carver

Carver was momentarily distracted looking at some cheese when the 2-year-old boy began to snack on the fruit she had placed in the cart. When Carver turned around she saw her toddler struggling, and she tried to dislodge the object in his throat.

“I started banging on him,” Carver told local news outlet WXYZ.

Ayyan Umar
Toddler Ayyan Umar

One shopper called 911, while another tried CPR. Though EMS workers were able to remove one grape, Ayyan died before they arrived at the hospital.

Now Carver and her husband, Mohammad Umar, are urging parents to learn from their mistake and enroll in infant CPR classes.

“I was feeling like maybe it was a bad dream, maybe somebody gonna wake me up,” Umar told WXYZ. “He sleeps on my chest. I see him everywhere.”

Choking is the leading cause of death among children 3 ears old and younger, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. High-risk foods include grapes, hot dogs, popcorn, hard candy, nuts, seeds and raw carrots. The AAP recommends cutting hot dogs lengthwise and grapes into quarters, noting that “this changes the dangerous round shape that can block a young child’s throat.”

Hot dogs are the top cause of food-related choking deaths.

Contact your local American Red Cross office to find out about CPR classes offered in your area.

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