Mum distraught after toddler almost dies eating popcorn

Elizabeth Di Filippo
·Editor

A mother has taken to social media to warn parents about the potential dangers of young children enjoying a popular movie-time snack.

Nicole Johnson Goddard was at home enjoying a night in with her family, watching movies and eating popcorn when her young son began to choke.

“I didn’t think twice to give Nash popcorn,” Nicole wrote in a post for Facebook. “Nash had a small choking episode but was fine. We didn’t see anything come out so we assume he swallowed it. He seemed completely fine and continued to watch the movie.”

Nicole’s son Nash Goddard. Photo: Facebook/<span>Nicole Johnson Goddard</span>
Nicole’s son Nash Goddard. Photo: Facebook/Nicole Johnson Goddard

The next day, Nicole says she noticed the toddler had developed a cough, but assumed it was his turn to pick up a cold that had been workings its way around the family. Another day passed and Nicole says her son began feeling “warm” and became “super fussy.”

After giving some medication for the fever and putting him to bed, the mum noticed her son’s breathing became laboured and called her paediatrician in concern.

The movie snack turned into a dangerous treat. Photo: Getty Images.
The movie snack turned into a dangerous treat. Photo: Getty Images.

Sensing something was wrong, Nicole took Nash to the hospital where he received a chest X-ray and a bronchoscopy.

After the procedure the family was informed that Nash had aspirated popcorn into his lungs when he choked, and ended up having to remove six pieces, while the toddler was under anaesthesia.

“The body recognised it as a foreign object and put puss pockets around it,” Nicole explained. “All the inflammation caused him to develop pneumonia in his left lung… there was so much inflammation the doctor wasn’t [sure] he got it all, so [they] scheduled him to be admitted and repeat the procedure in 2 days… It was an up and down roller coaster but we were in the best care.”

The second procedure was a success, and doctors were able to remove another piece of popcorn from his lungs.

“We’re so thankful our little man came out OK,” she wrote. “All of this over popcorn which is eaten on a regular basis in our home.”

Nicole and Nash in hospital. Photo: Facebook/<span>Nicole Johnson Goddard</span>
Nicole and Nash in hospital. Photo: Facebook/Nicole Johnson Goddard

Nicole says doctors told her and her husband that popcorn wasn’t to be given to anyone under the age of five, but admits as the mother of three children, she sometimes ‘overlooks’ things and doesn’t ‘pay as close attention to the do’s and don’ts’ as she did with her first.

Although aware that there is plenty of mum-shaming online, Nicole wanted to share her story to help other parents, who may not be aware that popcorn is unsafe for young children. The post has been shared over 124,000 times with parents passing on the message to one another.

“I wrote it as an eye opener for people to see how something you think is fine can quickly turn into something bad!” She explained, adding words of encouragement to other parents, “Always trust your gut because it’s right!”

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