My Paranoia – Children Who Are Choking

Gene Papin (, a writer and woodworker, sent me an email last week in response to my missive on choking parts in squeaky toys. He said, “One of the things I do is make toys, along with scroll work. With regard to small children, if the toy fits inside the pasteboard roll (inside lining) of a paper towel roll, it will go down a small child’s throat and choke him.”

That is an excellent reference, and easy to remember, so I wanted to share that with all of you.

I looked at Gene’s website. If you’re a pen fanatic like me, check out the beautiful wood pens there!

Anyway, I’ve had a paranoia about choking children ever since Zach was two and passed out after choking on an ice cube. He whacked his head on the bottom of a table on the way down. I grabbed him and did the Heimlich Maneuver and the ice cube flew out. Zach was then instantly conscious and started crying because of the bump on his head.

Then, Ali choked on a Spree (candy) when she was about three or four years old. The Heimlich did the trick then, too.

Frank never choked (God bless him).

Then, Max came along. He had an incredibly strong gag reflex and he choked on EVERYTHING! I had to nurse him frequently until around the age of two because he had such a hard time getting and keeping any food down. Even if we managed to somehow get an entire meal down him, he always seems to choke on the very last bite and then vomit everything up. He vomited at almost every meal – at home AND at restaurants, much to Richard’s horror. (I would absolutely panic every time he choked and the entire restaurant would be silent and staring at us during Max’s choking/vomiting fits).

When he was two, he ate a tortilla chip at our friends’ house and he choked on that and vomited blood. We rushed him to the E.R. He was fine by the time we got there. The chip had nicked a blood vessel on his tonsil. Apparently, the blood in his throat, coupled with the pain, was what was causing his gag reflex to overreact, over and over again. So, he wasn’t really choking, but he sure looked like he was.

Max finally grew out of it. Whenever Mason (9 months) eats, I thank the good Lord that he doesn’t appear to have the same problem. He doesn’t choke on baby food like Max did. He swallows entire spoonfuls – huge spoonfuls. The other day, Mason grabbed a piece of paper and took a huge bite out of it. I freaked out and grabbed him. I stuck my fingers in his mouth, moved them all around, under his tongue, in his cheeks, and then felt near his throat. Nothing! I heard him swallow. I said, “Oops. He ate it.” At that moment, he stuck out his tongue and pushed the piece of paper out of his mouth. It was almost like he was a magician, which made us laugh. But, he never gagged. Not once.

I think maybe God is giving me a break on this one. 😉

This week’s Maxism: I was horrified to see Max put his hands in his fish tank, and then put his fingers in his mouth. Before I could sputter out an order to immediately wash his hands WITH SOAP, he looked up at me, smiled, and said, “Smell my breath. It smells like fish!”

Hugs to all!


P.S. REMINDER – The Spring 24-Hour Short Story Contest is only a week away! There’s always a flood of entries at the last minute and we’re forced to turned some away after the contest fills up. Don’t delay if you plan to participate! See: