Blogger “Oh So Busy Mum” has shared a very important message for all parents.

Brisbane mum of four, Cheree, turned to social media to share her chilling warning.

“I’m sharing this post so that other parents know the dangers of giving young children popcorn, and a reminder to always trust your gut instinct. I ignored my gut instinct and put all my trust in what doctors were telling me (because how could so many doctors get it wrong?) and it could have very well cost my daughter her life.”

Her Facebook post attracted nearly 1000 reactions, 1.5K comments and 1.1K shares.

In a blog post on Oh So Busy Mum, Cheree explained further that her daughter nearly died after choking on popcorn and being misdiagnosed by doctors for 5 weeks. Yes, five. long. weeks.

Cheree writes, “I didn’t think twice about giving my 3-year-old popcorn. She had eaten popcorn before; all my kids have grown up having popcorn in their lunchbox. I had no idea how dangerous it is for young children to aspirate on, or that children under 5 shouldn’t have popcorn at all.”

“She was happily sitting on the lounge chair eating a bowl of plain popcorn when she coughed and choked a little. I didn’t think anything of it and gave her a drink of water. Within minutes she developed a cough and started wheezing – not realising the seriousness of it or knowing that she had actually aspirated on popcorn. We watched her, and over the next 30 minutes her wheeze started to get worse, so we decided to take her to the emergency room. When she got there, her wheeze was quite scary, and she had loud stridor (which is a high-pitched whistling sound when breathing). Thinking back on it, I should have called an ambulance, but again I didn’t realise the seriousness of it at the time.”

Fast forward through five weeks of ongoing wheezing, coughing and struggling to breath with doctor’s dismissing her symptoms and Cheree had finally had enough. Cheree made an appointment with her GP who sent them for an immediate X-ray and a referral to a respiratory specialist.

“We had to wait one long week to see the specialist (now on week 5) and as soon as he listened to her chest and looked at the x-ray, he sent us straight back to the emergency room with a stern letter for them to finally treat her and investigate further. That afternoon she was taken into emergency surgery to remove the piece of popcorn that she had in fact aspirated on 5 weeks earlier. It was too late! The damage was done. The popcorn had caused some damage to her lung because it sat there for 5 long weeks and slowly started breaking down.”

Cheree added, “I don’t want to think about what could have happened if I didn’t take her to see the private specialist. I regret not pushing more for an x-ray at the start and implementing Ryan’s rule.”

Cheree is begging parents to please trust your instincts.

“Please remember to always trust your gut instinct and to advocate if needed for your child. Doctors can and do get it wrong all the time and us as parents know our children and know when something is off with them.”

Read the full blog post HERE. 

Ryan’s rule is a process in Queensland where families can raise concerns if they feel like their child isn’t receiving the care they require, or symptoms are getting worse. You can find out more about that resource HERE. 

Read more – How to use Ryan’s Rule

View this post on Instagram

I’m sharing this post so that other parents know the dangers of giving young children popcorn, and a reminder to always trust your gut instinct. I ignored my gut instinct and put all my trust in what doctors were telling me (because how could so many doctors get it wrong?) and it could have very well cost my daughter her life. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It’s taken me a very long time to share this post. Mainly because I didn’t want to be judged by others and I wish I did things a little differently. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Luckily it worked out in the end, but it could have ended very differently. You can read the full blog post via the link in my bio. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #linkinbio

A post shared by Cheree Lawrence (@ohsobusymum) on

  • Mother’s know best. Good thing she trusted her instinct in this instance. Poor darling! So very scary.


  • oh no! I’d never have thought that… poor kid!


  • Oh dear. That’s so awful. I didn’t know this. No more popcorn here for a while then. Poor little girl!


  • Oh dear! Not good but lesson learnt I think. It can be sharp and the grains are quite large too n popcorn.


  • I knew small children weren’t meant to eat it but had no idea it was this dangerous to bigger kids.


  • Poor little darling. Such a scary situation for her. Glad things turned out better for her. I don’t like giving my children popcorn as I as an adult have choked on it and the little bits gets stuck in your throat and hard to get out at times.


  • Aw the poor girl. Gut instinct is an amazing thing and so is hindsight. Glad it all worked out in the end. And obviously a good lesson regarding popcorn for young children.


  • Poor girl. It can be hard when professionals don’t listen to you. Better to make a fuss over nothing just to be safe. I hope her lung is able to heal or doesn’t cause her long term problems.


  • One should always follow your ‘gut’ feeling with your children – you know your child much better than any one else – so push for extra things to be done if you are at all concerned. So sorry for your little girl, hope all is much better now and she is fully recovered.


  • So important to advocate for your child if you feel like they haven’t been looked at thoroughly or dismissed without due diligence. If the dr had done their job investigating properly the first time this poor little girl wouldn’t have had to go through such discomfort and pain for more than a month. If I were this mum I’d be filing a complaint with the medical board.


  • I’m so glad your girl is getting better. We all listen to what our doctors say and believe they are always right. You didn’t do anything wrong so don’t blame yourself.


  • Yep great reminder about popcorn you think health snacks not that it could harm your child.
    Lucky the mum went back to the doctors


  • Oh my goodness, how awful!


  • Can’t believe that poor girl suffered that long before diagnosis


  • How scary !
    I knew that popcorn is dangerous for toddlers, idem for pieces of apples and grapes etc.


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