Mom Who Lost Toddler in Tragic Accident Warns Moms About Popular Pantry Staple

Matthew RaderWhen you have kids, you meticulously baby-proof every room in the house trying to keep them safe, but would you ever think to lock up the spices in your kitchen? Most of us wouldn’t, and that’s why one Kentucky mom is speaking out to warn other parents after her 4-year-old died tragically from inhaling powdered cinnamon.


Brianna Rader says her son, Matthew, was playing in their kitchen last week when he climbed onto the stove and found the container of cinnamon sitting out. He decided to taste a little bit and immediately started choking and collapsed. He was rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead 90 minutes later. According to the coroner, some of the cinnamon power made it into Matthew’s lungs and he ultimately died of asphyxiation.

It turns out cinnamon asphyxiation is actually pretty common, despite our general lack of awareness about the danger. The common spice can dry out your mouth and cause vomiting, which can then get sucked back into the lungs and cause pneumonia, collapsed lungs, and even death.

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Like most of us, Matthew's mom had no idea something as innocuous as a kitchen spice could cause such tragic results. Now she’s working to warn other parents -- especially those with teens who might partake in the popular “cinnamon challenge” online, in which kids challenge each other to post videos of themselves eating a spoonful of dry cinnamon.

The most terrifying thing about what happened to the Rader family is that it could happen to any one of us. As much as we go out of our way to anticipate risks and to protect our children from every known danger, there are still so many more things out there that could harm them that we’d never even think to fear. I go insane locking up cleaning products and moving every perceived threat to the highest possible shelf, but I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve left spices on the counter after cooking a meal. This could easily have been my kids.

Cinnamon is not the first thing that comes to mind when we think of deadly household products, but as this story shows, it’s equal in danger to anything else we’d worry about our kids getting their hands on. It might be yummy in cookies or mixed into our oatmeal, but that doesn’t mean it’s harmless and we need to be careful about where we store it.

Rader posted on her personal Facebook page that she’s grateful for the attention her son’s story is getting and it “helps ease my breaking heart just a little to think that just maybe my baby's story can save even just one child's life.” Their story will likely save many more than one child’s life, but it’s heartbreaking that it had to come from such a devastating loss.

Meanwhile, a GoFundMe has been created the help the family.

What common household product have you learned is a lot more toxic than you expected?


About the Author: Ashley Austrew is a freelance writer who loves tacos, Target, and screen time. Her work has appeared on Mommyish, Scary Mommy, Modern Day Moms, and more. You can read more on her website or follow her on Twitter.


Image via GoFundMe

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