national

4-year-old boy dies after choking on large grape at Tokyo kindergarten

41 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© KYODO

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

41 Comments
Login to comment

If you have a kindergarten aged kid, you might want to ask if they have been told about this by their teachers. Mine was yesterday.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@justasking

there's a not-so-unspoken rule that says you better not to get involved because you could make things worse. It's the "rule" in the school, workplace and everywhere.

malarchy.

I’ve been here 23 years and have never heard of such a “rule.” I know of several Japanese people at work and outside of it who have helped people in life-threatening incidents.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No mention of teachers performing the Heimlich maneuver on the boy; are teachers certified in first aid in Japan?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Remember that the article likely originated in Japanese, and I suspect Japanese won't relate ハイムリック法 to throat-clearing abdominal thrusts as easily as an American as he reads "Heimlich Maneuver". This is a cultural difference.

Then a Kyodo needs better translators.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Remember that the article likely originated in Japanese, and I suspect Japanese won't relate ハイムリック法 to throat-clearing abdominal thrusts as easily as an American as he reads "Heimlich Maneuver". This is a cultural difference.

While we are on Heimlich Maneuvers, it seems the Heimlich isn't as prime a choice in modern practice as is in the American public memory.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdominal_thrusts

Either way, however, I do agree making toddlers eat whole grapes with diameter of 3cm seems a good way to encourage them to choke on them.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Nobody said Heimlich was not tried, guys...

> Lots of people are assuming here that the Heimlich maneuver was not performed, but that may be not the case

I’m fairly certain that Kyodo is sophisticated enough to write Heimlich maneuver instead of, “[k]indergarten staff tried but failed to make him spit out the grape . . . “ if it were attempted.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

My boy when he was 9 months old just started eating solid foods. I was home alone with him and he started choking. I grabbed him by his legs, held him upside down and slapped his back a couple times. He coughed it up. Scary. You can’t give young kids grapes unless you cut them up into small pieces

3 ( +3 / -0 )

expat - It was a one-off tragic accident

Um, it was negligence! Would you give your toddler a large hard candy? Of course you wouldn’t. This is what the kindergarten has done. The grapes should have at least been cut into halves.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@BelCanto

In theory, it's all good. But there's a not-so-unspoken rule that says you better not to get involved because you could make things worse. It's the "rule" in the school, workplace and everywhere. I just hope every person is embolden by that Good Samaritan law, but reality dictates otherwise.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It should be made compulsory that ALL teacher undergo first aid training, and the course should be renewed every 2-3 years. Possibly, this tragedy might have been avoided. Is any one to blame? (assuming no one had first aid training) may be the school.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The police are questioning kindergarten staff members on a voluntary basis, with an eye toward building a case of professional negligence resulting in death.

Build a case on an accidental death? For WHAT? Do they think the staff were planning on the child to choke and die? Old people sometimes eat mochi and choke on it and die. Does that mean that the police will attest the people who made the mochi? Come on now, police! It was definitely a GREATLY regrettable accident. The people involved must be destroyed, let alone the parents! The fact that they're FISHING for a case makes as much sense as a crunchy soup sandwich!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"" 3 centimeters""?

""professional negligence""

Yes indeed that is NEGLIGENCE, as a kindergarten staff they should have diced the grapes in half or more, it is almost standard procedure when feeding kids.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

justaskingToday  01:23 pm JST

@BelCanto

They have this law in place, but doctors and rescuers are still sued for malpractice. I wonder what's wrong?

Yes, medical practitioners and those paid to respond (paramedics, etc.) are held to a different standard. Whether that's reasonable and helpful is another question. But the rest of us are protected, even if we provide aid in the course of our work, as long as "no reward is exchanged."

A preschool teacher who gives aid to a child is protected as long as they're not getting paid specifically or additionally for giving aid, and as long as they check the other key boxes (not grossly negligent, etc.).

A layperson who provides needed CPR is protected if some ribs are broken in the process, or even if the patient dies - UNLESS they accept (or demand!) any kind of gift or payment.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A family member is working at a school for young kids four and upwards. No first aid training, no incident logbook, no procedure for accidents or incidents; and the local director who runs the school is away half the time, with no substitute.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@BelCanto

They have this law in place, but doctors and rescuers are still sued for malpractice. I wonder what's wrong?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Young children are particularly vulnerable to choking on grapes because:

They don’t have a full set of teeth and are still learning to chew properly.

Their swallow reflex is still developing.

Their airway is very small.

Why are grapes so dangerous?

https://www.capt.org.uk/News/why-are-grapes-so-dangerous#:~:text=Doctors%20have%20issued%20a%20stark%20warning%20that%20young,the%20child%20had%20a%20heart%20attack%20and%20died.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It was a one-off tragic accident. Why are the cops always so intent on making an example of victims of circumstance who had no motive to commit a crime, and who had probably been following the same course of action for years without incident?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

a case of professional negligence resulting in death

[sarcasm]

lets prosecute everybody, don't forget to jail the grapes farmer too.

[/sarcasm]

0 ( +4 / -4 )

This makes me so sad. No child, no parent, no one deserves this. Truly a horrible story all around without winners.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

gogogo Today  10:17 am JST

Not sure if this is the case but in Japan you can be sued for trying to help and failing, or even worse trying too, saving them but causing other issues.... it's why so many people don't get involved and just stand around.

Absolutely false. Please don't make uninformed statements that might dissuade someone from helping when it's needed most.

Here's one of the first hits when you search "Japan Good Samaritan law." This is an accurate summary of protections for rescuers.

https://tokyorave.wordpress.com/2010/03/24/why-you-may-be-refused-medical-treatment-in-japan/

Happy to cite the actual laws later if anyone wants, but gotta work now.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

What a nightmare for the poor parents and child! They need to have a talk to whoever designed the menu. Accidents happen but as adults they need to think worst case scenarios. Im on edge everytime school has the mochi making day for this same reason. Im a hawk if my kids are eating mochi or anything questionable. But I've been looked at as over reactive or over worried by my Japanese inlaws for it. But I dont care because its my kid and what they feel means nothing when it comes to their safety.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The police are questioning kindergarten staff members on a voluntary basis, with an eye toward building a case of professional negligence resulting in death.

So... I can volunteer to give information that might be used to make me look like I did something wrong? Slice me off a piece of that!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If a little kid is choking on something you pick them up, turn them upside down and use the Hiemlich of just push in their chest. Gravity does all the work

I can just see the scenarios in this case, two women patting this kid on the back (further lodging the grape into his throat) and saying, “Daijabu?”

3 ( +5 / -2 )

AlongfortherideToday  -

Very sad to lose a young life this way but is it really the Kindergartens fault or just a sad unfortunate tragedy.

It absolutely is the kindergartens fault. Anyone with experience of children should know you don’t give them grapes.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Don’t give young children grapes, unless you cut them into small pieces. This is a common and horrible thing. Also, do the staff have any first aid or CPR training? Trying to get the child to ‘spit out’ an object lodged in his throat, not trying to dislodge it?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Japan is so much into those big golf ball sized grapes that even regular sized grapes seem too small and kids are given grapes way too big for them to swallow. I hope this is a wake up call for parents and schools to be wary of grape size and also learn how to do heimlich.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Not sure if this is the case but in Japan you can be sued for trying to help and failing, or even worse trying too, saving them but causing other issues.... it's why so many people don't get involved and just stand around.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Kindergarten staff tried but failed to make him spit out the grape and the boy was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead, the investigators said.

Lots of people are assuming here that the Heimlich maneuver was not performed, but that may be not the case, even when correctly performed only 70%-80% of choking victims recover after using the maneuver, so it may be part of what the staff did when trying to make him spit the grape.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Nobody said Heimlich was not tried, guys...

0 ( +5 / -5 )

They took the trouble of peeling the grape but didn't at least cut it in half?

And I wonder if they even called 119 right away or just took him to the hospital after it was too late.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Who has a first aid certificate or in charge of first aid until ambulance arrives???... met by blanks stares.

Company with over 300 employees.

Said they will just call 119 if anything happens....

hence people die a lot of very preventable deaths here from what I read and see on the news.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Someone probably ordered them not to do anything because they might get things worse. This is Japan. People are afraid to give first aid because they are scared of being accused of making things worse.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Rest in Peace, poor boy. Big grapes of that size should ALWAYS be cut up for kids. A 3cm grape is huge for a toddler. How on earth does a kindergarten not do that?

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Why didn't the staff know the heimlich maneuver and basic first aid???

Because they are trained to stand politely and ask in the kindest voice, “daijobu desu ka?”

8 ( +13 / -5 )

So sad.

I don't understand why they don't teach the Heimlich here in schools or even to teachers. I saved BOTH of my kids from choking on candy and beef when they were young by using it. Such a super simple maneuver. Amazing how well it works!

RIP little one.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Why didn't the staff know the heimlich maneuver and basic first aid???

This is Japan. You’re applying western safety standards here. Give them time and it’ll be a requirement.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Very sad to lose a young life this way but is it really the Kindergartens fault or just a sad unfortunate tragedy.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Even if you don't know how to use the Heimlich, holding him upside down and slapping on his back should have dislodged it. They must have had some first aid training, so I guess what they tried didn't work.

Poor little guy.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Why didn't the staff know the heimlich maneuver and basic first aid???

I hope this will spur more schools to ensure staff is properly trained.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

. . . Heimlich maneuver may also be mentioned in the book, by the American Pediatric Association,

https://shop.aap.org/caring-for-your-baby-and-young-child-paperback/

6 ( +6 / -0 )

My own once experienced choking as a young child, I applied the Heimlich maneuver, with his arms up raised, . . he successfully coughed out the obstruction (a piece of chicken), see,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdominal_thrusts

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites