Bizarre Choking Accident Shows How Uncontrollable Parenting Can Be

rubber ball When I read a recent headline about a 7-year-old girl who choked to death on a rubber ball, my first thought was to print it out and show my son, who is 8. The boy constantly has something in his mouth -- Legos, erasers, action figures, you name it -- and I'm constantly harping on him to get them out of his mouth because he could choke on them.

But little Kiran Mir of England didn't have the ball in her mouth, mindlessly chewing on it at all. Instead she was doing what one is supposed to do with a ball -- bouncing it. But then in a "chance in a million" accident, it killed her.

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In a statement, her mother, Shakeela Bibi, described what happened:

She was bouncing the ball between her hand and the floor. I suddenly heard Kiran cough and immediately looked towards her. I immediately approached her and used one hand to smack her gently two or three times between her shoulder blades hoping for the ball to pop out.

Bibi was unable to dislodge the ball from her daughter's throat, and by the time an ambulance arrived, her daughter was already brain dead. After an investigation, the coroner ruled it a "complete freak accident" in which the ball bounced directly down her throat.

I can't imagine watching your child playing with a ball one minute and dead on the floor the next. It's something no parent -- no matter how cautious -- would think to warn a child of. Whether the Heimlich maneuver would have helped is unclear, but as parents, we can only do so much.

We do so much worrying about diseases and strangers and helmets, but the fact is we just can't protect our children from everything. Accidents happen, and while I suppose learning of them could make us more cautious, I find they actually make me want to loosen my worrying reigns a little. If a bouncing ball can take the life of your child in an instant, then shouldn't every chance we get before such a tragedy be spent enjoying and embracing life instead of worrying about it? That doesn't mean I'm going to suddenly stop harping on my son to get the Legos out of his mouth, but perhaps I'll at least spend a little less time worrying about the long-term damage all the toxic plastic chemicals in them may have done to him.

Do stories like this make you worry less or more about your children's safety?


Image via PinkStock Photos!/Flickr

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