Popcorn Causes Terrible Choking Tragedy in 2 Year Old

  • Parents Only

By: Marie Ashworth, ellaslist

Just over a week ago, 2 year old Mirranda Grace ran into her mother’s bedroom in Richmond, Virginia USA, her eyes bulging and fell to the ground. Her parents had no idea what was happening. They searched her mouth but found nothing. Her father, Patrick Lawson, started CPR.

By the time the ambulance had arrived, Mirranda’s heart had stopped. She was taken to the Children’s Hospital at Virginia Medical Center, where she was intubated and placed on a ventilator but has been unresponsive and on life support ever since.

The cause of this terrible tragedy…a small piece of popcorn.

Parents Go To Court To Delay Tests

Mirranda’s family firmly believes she is showing signs of improvement and, is confident more improvements will come over time. Doctors wanted to carry out tests to assess her brain stem activity, and ultimately whether to turn off her life support. But her devastated parents, Patrick and Alison, attempted to delay the tests by filing an emergency injunction. However, the emergency injunction was overturned on Friday by a court judge, signalling the start of the tests.

Choking – A Major Risk For All Children

Mirranda’s case is a terrible tragedy and our thoughts go out to her and her family.

Unfortunately, choking is an all-too-common occurance in young children. Around 500 children are admitted to Australian Emergency Departments for choking. It’s a particular risk for children under the age of eight with around 60% of admissions attributed to food becoming lodged in the airway.

Ways To Prevent Choking In Young Children

  • Do not give foods that can break off into hard pieces like raw carrot, celery sticks and apple pieces. Hard foods should be grated, cooked or mashed
  • Cut sausages and other meats into small pieces. Tough skins on sausages should be removed
  • Do not give popcorn, nuts, hard lollies, corn chips or other similar foods to young children
  • Cut grapes in half lengthways (not widthways)
  • Make sure they sit down to eat and never run around with food or anything in their mouth
  • Always supervise young children when they’re eating
  • Don’t leave objects children can choke on around the house like coins, marbles, LEGO and toys with removable small parts.
  • Read our Anti-Choking Guide By Age for more advice on how to prepare foods

The Right Way To Cut Grapes For Kids

What To Do If Your Child Is Choking

Every parent should know what to do if their child is choking. CPR KiDS run First Aid Courses for parents across Sydney arming them with the knowledge and techniques to deal with emergencies calmly and effectively. Watch their 6-minute video on what to do if your baby or child is choking…

Top Things To Do If A Child Chokes


  • First check if the child is still able to breathe, cough or cry. The child may be able to dislodge the foreign object by coughing

  • If the child IS breathing, do not try to dislodge the foreign object by hitting the child on the back because this may move the food into a more dangerous position and make the child stop breathing. Call 000 for an ambulance immediately.

  • If the child is NOT breathing try to dislodge the foreign object by placing the child face down over your lap so that their head is lower than their chest and give the child four sharp blows on the back just between the shoulder blades. This should provide enough force to dislodge the foreign object

  • Check again for breathing. If the child is still not breathing, call 000 for an ambulance immediately. The ambulance service will tell you what to do next



Choking - What To Do