3-year-old swallows popcorn kernel – 6 months later, her parents are forced to say goodbye

Do you know that according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, choking is one of the most common causes of death for children under three?

Common foods like grapes, sausages, and popcorn kernals are some of the biggest culprits. And the American Academy of Pediatrics says that parents shouldn’t children under five to eat these foods.


There’s nothing more tragic than the death of a child.

Mourning is a necessary and natural response to the loss of a child or close relative. But sometimes, the hope that their child’s death might help prevent similar tragedies from happening provides some measure of comfort to parents.

Mirranda Grace Lawson is a little girl who died in early November 2016, six months after choking on a single popcorn kernel.

Since the tragic death of their daughter, Mirranda’s parents have been raising awareness about the choking hazards that young children face every day.

Alison Lawson, Mirranda’s mother, was celebrating her birthday at home with her husband, Patrick, and their children when the unthinkable happened.


“At the end of Alison’s birthday, Mirranda ran in to the living room.

Eyes huge, no sound. Time stopped.

Those were the last moments they shared before Mirranda fell to the ground; they swept her mouth, nothing; Pat started CPR.

The ambulance got there. Mirranda’s heart stopped.”

There was nothing in Mirranda’s mouth, but a small popcorn kernel had gotten lodged in her windpipe and choked her.

On the way to the hospital, paramedics managed to get Mirranda’s heart pumping again, but the little girl’s family had no idea how serious her injury was.

When Mirranda arrived at the emergency room, she was immediately put on a respirator.

Her family kept their fingers crossed, but tragically, Mirranda’s doctors soon realized that the three-year-old was brain dead.

Flickr / Veggie Frog

The Lawson family fought with the hospital to keep their daughter alive, and the case ended up in court.

Hope was running out, but the Lawson family decided to try the case in the Virginia Supreme Court.

While the wheels of justice slowly turned, Mirranda remained in the hospital.

But even if Mirranda’s mom and dad fought hard to keep their little girl, the court was slow to make a decision.

Mirranda’s health suddenly deteriorated and she died in November with her heartbroken family at her side.

And now, it’s up to us to honor Mirranda’s memory and raise awareness about choking hazards so that other children don’t meet the same fate.

 GoFundMeFlickr / Global Panorama

How to lower the risk of choking:

  • Keep small objects out of children’s reach
  • Make sure your child sits still while eating—moving and having something in their mouth is always a bad combination.
  • Don’t let children eat in the car or when on a bicycle— there could be sudden bumps.
  • Take extra care if your child has a cold. Objects are more likely to get stuck in their throat during that time.

If a child is choking, use the “five-and-five” approach:

Five back blows:

  1. Place the child on their stomach on your lap.
  2. Hold the child’s stomach with your forearm and hold their head up by supporting their chin. The child’s head should be lower than their body.
  3. Deliver five back blows between the child’s shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.

Five chest thrusts:

  1. Turn the child over on your lap and hold them with her forearm. Support their head with your hand. The child’s head should be lower than their body.
  2. Place two fingers in the middle of their chest just below the nipples.
  3. Push sharply downwards up to five times.
  4. Alternate between five blows and five thrusts until the blockage is dislodged.

Source: Mayo Clinic

Watch this video to learn more about what to do if your child is choking:

Feel free to share this important information so that more parents know what to do if their child starts choking!

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