An 8-year-old boy choked to death on a hotdog while enjoying San Juan festivities with his family in Gran Canaria over the weekend.
The boy, who was reportedly Spanish, was celebrating the traditional fiesta celebrations in Telde—a town in the eastern region of the island—when he passed away just after midnight on June 23, The Sun reported.
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) June 23, 2019
The youngster was with his parents at a beach bar by a funfair when he choked on the hot dog, as shocked onlookers and family members attempted to save his life.
Emergency services scrambled to the scene, but sadly, were unable to revive the 8-year-old.
Onlookers described how the child began to choke after his first bite of the meal, adding that attempts to resuscitate him went on for almost one hour.
Telde’s local council suspended festivities on June 23 and June 24, and declared two days of mourning, with municipal flags flying at half mast.
The boy’s parents, who reportedly live in the area, required medical assistance as they both suffered severe shock, and family members have been offered counseling.
Did you know that popcorn, grapes, cheese and peanut butter are on the “danger” list of foods kids can #choke on? Be #safeeating aware and always remember to supervise children when they are eating! https://t.co/UuWQSp9pQ0
— Mini First Aid (@minifirstaiduk) February 16, 2019
The Mayor of Telde, Héctor Suárez, has extended his “sorrow and deepest condolences” to the young boy’s family.
“We are dismayed and very affected,” he said.
An investigation is underway to determine exactly what happened.
Spanish Boy 3, Chokes to Death on Grape
Thiago Guamán’s family was seeing in the New Year according to a 100-year-old tradition—eating one grape per toll of the midnight bell.
But as the 12th bell rang, when his mother turned to the boy, who had been given only four seedless grapes, she saw him choking, unable to breathe.
Choking can be silent. Children, particularly under 5’s, can easily choke on small food such as blueberries or grapes while your back is turned. Always chop food up into small pieces (length ways into quarters). https://t.co/2KbC29ZV6g #childsafetyweek #safechildrentogether pic.twitter.com/SS8YOXDNWU
— East Sussex CC (@EastSussexCC) June 15, 2019
His family attempted to dislodge the grape by putting their fingers down his throat, while his uncle hit his chest, attempting to knock the fruit out.
Sadly, the boy’s family and emergency services were unable to dislodge the grape in his throat in time, and he was declared dead an hour later at the hospital, according to local reports.
The boy was celebrating with his mother, older brother, uncle, and grandmother, at their home in the city of Gijón on Spain’s north Atlantic coast.
“I do not understand how a grape has been able to end my son’s life,” his mother Viviana Bustos told La Nueva Espania. “This is a nightmare, I cannot assimilate it,” she said.
“At the last bell, we saw that he had choked and could not breathe,” Bustos said. “I do not know what could happen. I do not see an explanation because he had already eaten grapes on other occasions and nothing had ever happened.”
Grapes are the third-most-common cause of choking in children under 5, according to a study published in the BMJ, and an ear, nose, and throat surgeon Raimundo Fonseca told El Espanol choking occurs most often in children under the age of two.
“It is in this age range, when the teeth are not yet developed, the child’s swallowing system is immature, and the possibility that a part of a food or foreign body enters the respiratory tract is higher,” Fonsenca said.
Authors of the study advise that grapes and cherry tomatoes “should be chopped in half and ideally quartered before being given to young children (5 and under),” and emphasize “the importance of adult supervision of small children while they are eating.”
Simon Veazey contributed to this report.