To be a parent grieving a young child is a position no one should have to be in. A tragic accident occurred in Indianapolis recently, leaving a mother of four boys heartbroken.
But, even in the midst of her loss and grief, this mother is speaking out, in hopes that her story will save a life.
Katie Chamberlain was the mother of four, happy and healthy little boys. As many families with young children do, Chamberlain took her sons out to the yard on a hot day for some summer water fun.
They played with water balloons, but when they returned to the house, things took a very dangerous and unexpected turn.
One balloon ended up inside. Just one, and that’s all it took for Chamberlain’s 9-month-old son, Justin, to come into contact with a hazard many may not be aware of.
“I laid him on the floor to play…” she shared with her local news station. “…next thing I know, he’s choking on a balloon. It was just so fast…”
The terrified mother acted quickly. She wasn’t far away. This isn’t a story of parental negligence. But even her quick thinking and performance of CPR couldn’t save Justin’s life.
It turns out, balloons aren’t simply a choking hazard for a small child. According to doctors, they are the number one most common choking hazard around.
Children under the age of 3 are at the highest risk for this choking hazard, with children between ages 1 and 2 found to be the most commonly affected.
Dr. Edgar Petras, an Emergency Pediatric Specialist, explained, “Unfortunately, especially with balloons, there’s just not enough time.”
Again, this isn’t a matter of Chamberlain not watching her son. Despite any ridicule she might receive, she wants other parents to know that this could happen to anyone.
“None of us are above accidents happening,” she wrote on Facebook. “I don’t care how great of a parent you are. Accidents don’t just happen to negligent parents.”
Chamberlain’s tale is sobering for anyone with young children. While some may brush this incident off, hopefully others will see that it’s truly better to be safe than sorry.
If you have young children in the home, consider alternatives to balloons or other choking hazards when it comes to play time.
You never know what kind of accident you might prevent. Stay informed and don’t think for a second it could never happen to you, because a second is all it takes for everything to change.
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