We have all seen warnings on toy packaging saying not to let children swallow small parts as it could lead to chocking.
One 10-year-old South American boy found it can also lead to honking—and ridicule.
A video posted by Santiago Gomez Zuviria of Tucumán, Argentina, shows a child honking with each breath after swallowing the noisemaker from a toy horn.
Zuviria posted the video to Facebiook with the warning, “’Taken in Tucumán. Moral of the story: be careful with what you let your children play with.”
Facebook users found the video hilarious. Nine million people wound up watching the uncomfortable-looking child honking and wheezing in just the first few minutes after the video was posted.
The video attracted hundreds of comments, many of them far from compassionate.
Some made fun of the child for being overweight: “The fatty looks like one of the Angry Birds,” said one, citing a popular video game. Another posted, “I love those fat guys, they light up my day.”
Some people understood. One responded, “Luckily he did not choke, so we can all laugh at what happened.”
Zuviria was astonished at the video’s popularity, and not at all pleased by its reception. His aim had never been to humiliate the child, nor to make light of his accident.
As Zuviria explained, the situation was serious: the child had to have the noisemaker surgically removed. While his honking might have seemed comical, had the toy lodged differently in his throat, the child could have been severely or even fatally injured.
Science Daily reports, “Choking is a leading cause of injury and death among children, especially those younger than 4 years of age. The majority of choking-related incidents among children are associated with food, coins and toys.”
The U.S. National Safety Council reported 5051 choking deaths in the U.S. in 2015. On average, more than 12,000 are hospitalized.
The European Union reports an average of 2,000 choking deaths per year.
This child was lucky. The noisemaker was removed from his throat and besides a little embarrassment, he was not injured.
While Zuviria posted the video hoping to warn people of the dangers of choking in a memorable way, his video instead brought out the worst in some posters. He was so upset by some of the responses, he had to post again.
Zuviria posted, after the boy’s operation: “I want to ask your help.
“A few days ago I shared a video of a little boy who had an accident with a toy horn.
“My only intention was to make friends aware of the risk that small children are exposed to when playing with toys.
“To date, the video has almost nine million views, a number that continues to rise.
“’Unfortunately there are those who have used the video maliciously, so I’m asking all my friends and contacts to report these posts, extracted from the video in question, that seek to ridicule the situation the little guy went through.
“Let us make this online community a healthy and respectful place for all. Thank you very much.”