CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The tragic death of a Charlotte toddler is getting pediatricians to warn parents about foods that children could choke on.
Thaddeus Graves, not yet two years old, got a grape lodged in his throat last week. Despite the best efforts of caregivers and paramedics, Thaddeus was without air for too long and died.
"Mistakes can happen," said Dr. Erin Washburn, a pediatrician with Novant Health. "Grapes, hot dogs, baby carrots... if they get buttoned off at the right size, that's the perfect size for a child's airway. It fits perfectly and that is a choking hazard."
Washburn said she does not believe a child under the age of two should eat grapes at all. She said children are allowed to eat grapes and hot dogs once they get a little older, as long as they are cut into quarters because even halves can be dangerous.
"When a child's eating, you need to be paying attention," Washburn said. "Any child can have any food be a choking hazard if they're eating fast."
According to the American Heart Association, most parents do not have the skills they need to save a life. Seventy percent of Americans have either never taken CPR/Heimlich training or they took it so long ago, they have forgotten what they learned.
Washburn said what happened to Thaddeus is a heartbreaking reminder for parents.
"It's not 100 percent preventable because kids are kids and they eat the way they eat," she said. "But you can be proactive to help with their healthcare."
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