Grapes are the third most dangerous food for children below five. The size of a grape is greater than an infant's airway. More than half the cases noted are caused due to choking of grapes.
The public is unaware of the potential hazard caused by grapes, report doctors in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.
‘Prevent food chocking in children, by chopping food into fine pieces and by removing the seeds.’
There are a plenty of choking warnings on the packaging of small toys. But no warnings are available on foods like grapes and cherry tomatoes.
Doctors advise that grapes and cherry tomatoes "should be halved and ideally quartered before being given to young children (5 and under)." The importance of adult supervision of small children while they are eating has been emphasized.
The scientists described the case of a young child requiring emergency treatment after eating whole grapes.
A two year old was snacking on grapes in the park when he started choking. The grape proving impossible to dislodge, an ambulance was called. Paramedics were on the scene within a minute and successfully cleared the airway.
The child suffered two seizures before reaching hospital and on arrival, required emergency treatment to relieve swelling on his brain and to drain a build-up of watery fluid in his lungs. He spent five days in intensive care before making a full recovery.
With small airways, lack of a full set of teeth to chew with, underdeveloped swallow reflex and short attention span, infants are at a major risk of choking.
Unlike objects like nuts, the smooth soft surface of a grape enables it to form a tight seal in an airway, not only blocking, but also making it more difficult to remove without specialist equipment.