Family Devastated After 3-Year-Old Boy Choked to Death on a Bouncy Ball


Our kids play with things that seem innocuous every day. Whether they're finding fun in household items or their favorite toys, it can be so easy for parents to forget that many of the things they come in contact with are incredibly dangerous for them. A bright, vibrant 3-year-old lost his life to a bouncy ball earlier this week, leaving a family completely heartbroken and a community of parents reeling at the reality that something so simple could be so deadly.


On Tuesday, February 27, Anna Davis, the mom behind the popular Instagram page The Small Folk, informed her followers that her 3-year-old son Alby had lost his life. "Yesterday afternoon, our beautiful, beautiful Alby, our darling baby boy, grew wings and flew from this earth," she wrote. "Minutes pass like hours and the gaping hole in our lives and hearts is completely incomprehensible."

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On Monday afternoon, a large package of party favors arrived at the Davises' home. The favors were meant to be used for Alby's upcoming fourth birthday celebration. The curious toddler picked out a small bouncy ball to play with, but sometime during his play time, the ball became lodged in his windpipe, completely preventing him from breathing. While Anna Davis made every attempt to dislodge the ball and save her son, he died in her arms "in a matter of seconds."   


Alby's death has been devastating for his family and just as shocking for the community of people who loved him dearly. Many have found it difficult to wrap their heads around the fact that something as seemingly innocent and harmless as a bouncy ball took a young life so quickly. 

Unfortunately, Alby isn't the first child to fall victim to these toys. While bouncy ball deaths don't necessarily seem to be commonplace, they have taken the lives of more than a few children in recent years. In November 2017, a 10-year-old American boy fell into a coma and then died after swallowing a bouncy ball he got from a toy dispenser. In August 2011, a 7-year-old girl in the United Kingdom suffered irreparable brain damage and then died after accidentally swallowing one. And in 2011, Live Science reported that small bouncy balls and marbles have led to the deaths of 69 children since 1990. 

Bouncy balls, which can be found in just about any toy store, discount shop, or dispenser, are usually small enough to fit perfectly inside a child's windpipe. Consumer Safety says that small balls and marbles meant for children under 3 years old should be larger than 1.75 inches and come with a warning label telling parents of the choking hazard they present. But after examining toy stores across the country in 2015, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group found that several of the small bouncy balls it came across did not meet the size requirements or have sufficient warnings on the labels. 


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A GoFundMe campaign started by a family friend revealed that Alby's family is in need of financial help to cover funeral expenses and get them through their time of "unfathomable grief." In her most recent Instagram post, days after her son's death, Anna Davis expressed her gratitude for those who have spoken out in love and support for her family. 

"During this time of immense grief, your thoughts, prayers, sympathy and tears have enveloped and uplifted us, and we could never thank you enough for your overwhelming generosity and support," she wrote. "Sweet Alby, forever three, forever free." 

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