Whole grapes – wonderful but take care

As new products such as button batteries and e-cigarette refills emerge, it is easy to get complacent about age-old dangers. Humans have used grapes for winemaking for 8000 years and have been eating them for even longer.

Grapes are a healthy, easy snack for children but they are also dangerous. Doctors have issued a stark warning that young children can choke to death on whole grapes, describing three cases of children who needed emergency treatment:

  • A five-year-old boy choked while eating grapes at an after-school club. Despite first aid, the grape could not be dislodged and the child had a heart attack and died.
  • A 17-month-old boy choked while eating grapes with his family at home. Paramedics were called and the grape was eventually removed but the little boy still died.
  • A two-year-old choked while snacking on grapes in the park. He suffered two seizures and spent five days in intensive care before thankfully making a full recovery.

Food is responsible for over half of all fatal choking accidents – with grapes the third most common cause of death in food-related incidents.

Why are grapes so dangerous?

The size and shape of grapes means they can completely plug a child’s airway. The tight seal produced by the grape’s smooth surface makes them difficult to dislodge with standard first aid techniques.

Young children are particularly vulnerable to choking on grapes because:

  • They don’t have a full set of teeth and are still learning to chew properly.
  • Their swallow reflex is still developing.
  • Their airway is very small.

What can we do?

The safest approach is to chop grapes lengthways, and ideally into quarters.

Doctors are worried about a lack of awareness. Please share CAPT’s safety tips: 

Getting our priorities right

Public Health England (PHE) has identified five injury types that professionals should keep front of mind in their work with parents and carers of young children – ‘five for the under-fives’:

Click on each injury type for an article that covers the scale and nature of the issue, the links with child development, and specific opportunities for prevention.

CAPT provides tailored training for staff in the early years workforce on how to raise the five priority areas in everyday work with parents and carers. Contact Kevin.lowe@capt.org.uk for more information

More information

  1. Advice on choking prevention
  2. Doctors’ warning about grapes
  3. Five priority injury types 
  4. Keep children safe from choking
  5. Finger food without the fear
  6. Training for staff in the early years workforce
Whole grapes – wonderful but take care
As new products such as button batteries and e-cigarette refills emerge, it is easy to get complacent about age-old dangers. Humans have used grapes for winemaking for 8,000 years and have been eating them for even longer.
Grapes are a healthy, easy snack for children but they are also dangerous. Doctors have issued a stark warning that young children can choke to death on whole grapes, describing three cases of children who needed emergency treatment:
A five-year-old boy choked while eating grapes at an after-school club. Despite first aid, the grape could not be dislodged and the child had a heart attack and died.
A 17-month-old boy choked while eating grapes with his family at home. Paramedics were called and the grape was eventually removed but the little boy still died.
A two-year-old choked while snacking on grapes in the park. He suffered two seizures and spent five days in intensive care before thankfully making a full recovery.
Food is responsible for over half of all fatal choking accidents – with grapes the third most common cause of death in food-related incidents.
Why are grapes so dangerous?
The size and shape of grapes means they can completely plug a child’s airway. The tight seal produced by the grape’s smooth surface makes them difficult to dislodge with standard first aid techniques.
Young children are particularly vulnerable to choking on grapes because:
They don’t have a full set of teeth and are still learning to chew properly.
Their swallow reflex is still developing.
Their airway is very small.
What can we do?
The safest approach is to chop grapes lengthways, and ideally into quarters.
Doctors are worried about a lack of awareness. Please share CAPT’s safety tips: 
Like CAPT on Facebook and share posts with the families you work with.
Read and share this news report and our advice on choking prevention.
Give out our popular flyers Keep children safe from choking and Finger food without the fear. The flyers are perfect for weaning fayres and clinics, child health reviews, parent groups and home visits, providing practical reminders for busy parents. They cost just £7.45 plus P&P for 50 copies.  
Getting our priorities right
Public Health England (PHE) has identified five injury types that professionals should keep front of mind in their work with parents and carers of young children – ‘five for the under-fives’:
Choking, suffocation and strangulation
Falls
Poisoning
Burns and scalds
Drowning
Click on each injury type for an article that covers the scale and nature of the issue, the links with child development, and specific opportunities for prevention.
CAPT provides tailored training for staff in the early years workforce on how to raise the five priority areas in everyday work with parents and carers. Contact Kevin.lowe@capt.org.uk for more information
More information
1. Advice on choking prevention
2. Doctors’ warning about grapes
3. Five priority injury types 
4. Keep children safe from choking
5. Finger food without the fear
6. Training for staff in the early years workforce
[KIRSTY, please can you change the date for CSW in the content on training for staff in the early years workforce, as it gives last year’s date]
 
    Updated January 2017