Popcorn kills toddler in creche

Popcorn can be dangerous for toddlers

A TODDLER choked to death on a popcorn kernel she found at her creche, an inquest heard yesterday.

Lauren Meehan-O’Byrne was just 18 months old when she died at Temple Street Children’s Hospital on March 19 last year, having never recovered from the incident five days previously.

Dublin coroner Dr Brian Farrell is calling on the HSE to ban popcorn from all pre-school facilities in the wake of the incident.

Lauren and a number of other infants had been making their way from the toddler room to the dining room at the creche for playtime when childcare assistant Sabrina Bennis noticed that the 18-month-old was coughing.

She patted her on the back but the cough became worse and then Lauren suddenly inhaled as though she could not breathe. Co-worker Carol Blake attempted the Heimlich manoeuvre but this did not work.

Paramedic Mark O’Sullivan told the court that when he arrived Lauren was unresponsive and pulseless.

Several attempts were made to clear her airway before he decided to insert a tube. This was successful and Lauren was then transferred to the Midwestern Regional Hospital in Limerick. An operation was carried out to remove a popcorn kernel, which was lodged so far down Lauren’s trachea that it was not visible to the naked eye.

Lauren was transferred to Temple Street that evening. However, she had suffered extensive brain damage having been deprived of oxygen, and never recovered. She died five days later when life support was withdrawn.

The court heard that there were currently no regulations preventing creches and pre-schools from giving popcorn to young children. HSE guidelines only recommend that snacks like popcorn are not given to children under five years old to prevent the possibility of choking.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a very stern warning regarding the health risks that popcorn poses to young children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics undertook an extensive study about popcorn and children. The study revealed that time and time again, popcorn posed an extremely serious threat to the safety of younger children. The popcorn kernel and the popcorn hull both pose a major risk of choking when they are consumed by young children.

The choking risk associated with popcorn kernels and hulls and small children is so significant that it does lead to death in some instances.

When it comes to feeding popcorn to children, infants naturally should never be given popcorn as a food. This applies even to those infants who otherwise have started eating solid food products. The fact of the matter is that many parents hand off little bags of popcorn to their toddlers. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly condemns this practice. A significant number of toddlers have ended up choking on popcorn, some of these children even dying as a result.

There is not absolute age at which younger children should be permitted to eat popcorn. The size and maturity of a particular child plays a role in making this determination. But again, it is far better to play it safe than be sorry.





Toddler suffers severe internal injuries after drinking oven cleaner

Keep cleaning products away from children

We came across an article in the Irish Independent on 31st August 2012 about a toddler in the UK who is in a serious condition in hospital after drinking oven cleaner.

This is just another sad  reminder how quickly accidents with small children can happen.

Callum Blackshaw, a 2 year old boy from Orsett, Essex managed to climb onto the kitchen table where his granny left a bottle of oven cleaner which she bought for her daughter. He managed to open the child lock of the product and drank several mouthful.

He is now in Great Ormond Street Hospital where he is being treated for severe internal injuries. Doctors say that he may need an oesophagus transplant in the future as a result of his injuries.

If you have small children or look after toddlers please take your time and look at your home from a child safety point of view:

  • Keep anything that may be poisonous (all medicines and pills, household cleaners and garden products) out of reach, preferably in a locked cupboard.
  • Use containers that have child-resistant tops. But be aware that by the age of three, many children are able to open child-resistant tops.
  • Keep all dangerous chemicals in their original containers. For example, do not store weedkiller in an old drinks bottle as a young child may mistake it for something safe to drink.
  • Dispose of unwanted medicines and chemicals carefully.

For more information on how to “child proof” your home please visit our First Aid tip “Safety in the home”.

Please also take some time to visit the website of the Irish National Poisons Information Centre. You will find valuable information about poisons, prevention as well as treatment.

If you want to find out how to deal with poison accidents and the appropriate First Aid measures we encourage you to take part in one of our First Aid courses. We run regular First Aid courses in Dublin where poisoning is just one topic of many accidents that can happen and where First Aid skills are required.

First Aid for Kids Fundraiser for Crumlin Hospital

Support Crumlin hospital

Calling all Mums, Dads, Grandparents & Minders

Would you like to learn how to deal with the most life threatening medical emergencies in children and infants while at the same time raising much needed funds for a very worthy cause, Crumlin Children’s Hospital?

First Aid For Everyone is proudly supporting an upcoming fundraising event for Crumlin hospital.

The event – a 3 hour presentation on First Aid for children will take place at 7pm on Tuesday 15th May 2012 in Bewley’s Hotel, Leopardstown, Co Dublin.

This comprehensive 3 hour course is a must for parents/carers or anyone involved in caring for babies and young children. The topics that will be covered include

  • CPR demo
  • Choking
  • Burns
  • Meningitis
  • Poisoning
  • Head injury
  • Temperature/febrile seizures
  • Accident prevention in the home
  • Calling the emergency services
  • The First Aid kit

The course is delivered via Power Point presentation and there are lots of visual aids and video clips. There will of course be plenty of opportunity for participants to ask questions and there will be a selection of handouts such as fire safety, poisons and child safety.

In addition there we will have a special guest on the night who will give some firsthand insight into the fantastic work of Crumlin Children’s Hospital!

There will also be some great raffle prizes to be won with raffle tickets being sold both in advance and on the night. Details to follow!

To find out more and to book your place please click here.

Please book your place soon. All proceeds will go to buy vital equipment and toys for children hospital in Crumlin. It’s a very worthy cause.

Please share this post with all your friends and on Facebook.

Babies can suffocate on nappy sacks

The NHS are launching a safety campaign in the UK about the dangers of nappy sacks, after 11 babies suffocated having pulled the bags over their faces.

Commenting on the campaign, Children’s Accident Prevention coordinator and campaign founder Beth Beynon states ‘If we can take this campaign out to communities and reach parents, grandparents and carers we will have achieved one giant step towards preventing any more babies from needlessly dying.’

Katrina Phillips, Chief Executive at Child Accident Prevention Trust who support the campaign, says that ‘Because nappy sacks are seen as an essential piece of parenting kit, parents don’t realise that they are as dangerous to babies as plastic bags are to small children. They are often kept nearby, within easy reach, for nappy changing.’

She also goes on to note that ‘This campaign will remind parents that nappy sacks need to be kept out of reach of babies, particularly in the bedroom. Young babies are most at risk because they naturally grasp things and pull them to their mouths, but then find it difficult to let go. Nappy sacks are small and flimsy, and cling to babies’ faces so they can’t breathe.’

To avoid danger of suffocation and choking:

Always keep nappy sacks and other plastic bags and wrapping away from babies and young children

Never place nappy sacks in a baby’s cot or pram.


Our First Aid courses in Dublin will give you vital tips how to make your home a safe place for your children. For more information on the dangers of blind cords please click our here. It will bring you to one of our First Aid tips.