This must’ve been a terrifying experience! A mom in Britain is urging cafes and parents to be aware when handing out treats like marshmallows to small children. Hanora Cox was having coffee with her partner Carl Peacock and their 2-year old son Dylan at Costa Coffee, a chain of cafes in the United Kingdom. Hanora was given a free marshmallow with her drink purchase, and not thinking anything of it, handed it to Dylan. That’s when things took a scary turn.
Hanora says she had only turned her back for a moment, thinking Dylan was eating the treat properly. When she turned around, she saw that he was unable to breathe. He had swallowed the marshmallow whole, and it became lodged in his airway.
Hanora picked Dylan and began pounding on his back, hoping to dislodge the marshmallow. She says, “It didn’t seem to be working and after 30 seconds, Dylan started to go limp. I feared that he’d gone. I was too scared to turn him over to see if his eyes were open.” She and Carl continued administering first aid to the boy, and asked the Costa Coffee staff to call an ambulance. By the time he was transported and seen by doctors, the marshmallow had dissolved, and he was out of danger.
Marshmallows are considered a choking hazard for small children, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. They can become lodged in airways, like what happened with little Dylan.
While Costa Coffee insists that they don’t give out marshmallows with the drinks Hanora ordered, she insists the branch she visited was handing them out. She says that friends have told her other branches give them out as well, to children as young as two. A spokesperson for the coffee chain said, “We do not serve marshmallows with our free babycinos, however, they can be purchased as an extra. We do sell a mini-hot chocolate, also aimed at the same age group, which is served with one marshmallow or chocolate flake. We allow for parental discretion as to whether a marshmallow is given or brought for a child and currently do not have an age limit.”
Hanora is hoping her story makes other parents more aware of what they’re giving their kids to eat. She says she had no idea of the dangers of giving marshmallows to small kids, and just wants other parents to avoid the scary situation she found herself in.