March 5, 2018 3:11 pm
Updated: March 5, 2018 5:02 pm

Mom left devastated after toddler dies choking on bouncy ball

WATCH: The death of a young Australian boy who choked on a bouncy ball has prompted an outpouring of grief and a warning to parents.

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The death of a child is a scenario no parent ever wants to encounter, but mom Anna Davis is living that nightmare after her three-year-old died after choking on a small child’s toy.

And now Davis is sharing her story in hopes to prevent another tragedy like the one she experienced.

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Davis, who runs a popular Instagram page called The Small Folk, which often features her three kids, explained in a post that she was preparing for her son’s fourth birthday party when Alby put a bouncy ball in his mouth and choked on it.

The ball, she says, was meant to be included in his birthday party loot bags.

“Yesterday afternoon, our beautiful, beautiful Alby, our darling baby boy, grew wings and flew from this earth,” Davis, who lives in Tasmania in Australia, wrote in an Instagram post. “Minutes pass like hours and the gaping hole in our lives and heart is completely incomprehensible. We adore you beyond belief, our sweet little fox. Forever three, forever free.”

In a now deleted post, Davis showed the type of ball Alby had choked on. The package it came in shows a warning, which says is not suitable for children under three, ScaryMommy reports.

The news of Alby’s passing also sparked negative feedback from online users – feedback in which Davis addresses in Instagram posts.

“Yes, I of course tried to save our beautiful boy (including, but not only, undertaking CPR for 16 excruciating minutes until paramedics arrived),” she wrote. “I was three feet away from Alby when the incident occurred and was by his side within seconds, the ball was larger than the 50c piece/film canister size-recommendation for toys given to young children, and the ball packaging states ‘not for children under three years’ – being only a few days away from turning 4, Alby was almost one year older than this advice.”

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As the media storm surrounding our family swirled yesterday, I beg you – this beautiful, loving community – to disregard the many ignorant, hurtful and incorrect assumptions that have been formed regarding the more specific details of Alby’s passing. The heart ache we are already experiencing is indescribable, and to know there are ill-informed stories and subsequent false accusations circulating, initiated by some incredibly heartless people at this time, only exacerbates our pain. To very briefly clarify some of the most widely spread misconceptions – yes, I of course tried to save our beautiful boy (including, but not only, undertaking CPR for 16 excruciating minutes until paramedics arrived), I was three feet away from Alby when the incident occurred and was by his side within seconds, the ball was larger than the 50c piece/film canister size-recommendation for toys given to young children, and the ball packaging states ‘not for children under three years’ – being only a few days away from turning 4, Alby was almost one year older than this advice (swipe across) We thank you again, from the bottom of our hearts, for the love and sympathy you have so graciously expressed. Knowing fellow mamas and papas are encircling our family, sharing in our grief, and clutching their babies a little tighter, brings us great comfort. Our golden boy will live on in us all 🕊

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According to Health Canada, the majority of toy recalls in Canada in the last few years have been due to small part choking hazards.

Common problem toys include simple puzzles, simple car and trucks, dolls, plush toys, bath toys, rattled and toys with batteries.

In fact, the Canadian Paediatric Society lists choking and suffocation as responsible for about 40 per cent of all unintentional injuries for toddlers under the age of one.

When it comes to choosing age-appropriate toys, the Canadian Safety Council has guidelines and tips for parents to consider.

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“First of all, we recommend to always check the label,” says Lewis Smith, manager of national projects at the council. “Look for markings cautioning of choking hazards as well as the recommended age listed.”

It’s important to follow the suggested age, regardless of whether you perceive your child to be more advanced, Smith adds.

“The recommendation exists partially to indicate which toys have small pieces that may be a choking hazard, too.”

Also, pick larger toys for toddlers and infants, Smith says.

“A good rule of thumb is that the toy should be larger than the child’s fist,” he says. “It’s always a good idea to inspect the toy before giving it to the child, to make sure there are no parts that could break off. At that point, it’s no safer than a toy with small detachable parts in the first place.”

Parenting expert Alyson Schafer also suggests that parents get their hands on a choking tube, which can be purchased at toy stores. This tube replicates the throat of a toddler, and parents can measure the size of objects by putting them in that tube. If the object is small enough to fit, then it is a choking hazard.

Parents also need to understand what kinds of items can cause a child to choke.

“A lot of things that are choking hazards have smooth outsides, so grapes and hot dogs are examples,” Schafer says. “That combination of smooth and round is what’s really problematic.”

Lastly, it’s important that parents don’t have major reactions when and if an episode happens, Schafer says, as it may trigger attention-seeking behaviour in the future.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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