Nicole and Jake Goddard, of Parker, Colorado, sit down every weekend with a big bowl of popcorn to watch a family movie with their three children. And while they were watching Mrs. Doubtfire recently, their youngest child, Nash, started to choke.
"He started making a gagging noise and [Jake] jumped up really fast to grab him," Nicole told KDVR. "He was getting ready to do the Heimlich on him and then he took a breath."
After that incident, Nash started breathing as normal, and his parents assumed he'd simply swallowed a kernel.
"He seemed completely fine and continued to watch the movie. The only thing we observed was a cough he developed after the episode," she wrote.
Nicole and Jake put the cough down to a nasty cold that had made its way through the family. "Monday came and [in the evening] I noticed Nash felt warm and he was super fussy," Nicole said. "He had a fever so I gave him Motrin and put him to bed."
Nicole decided to spend the night with Nash to keep an eye on him, and began to notice his breathing was becoming labored. She called her pediatrician who told her to take him to the hospital "ASAP."
When the two made it to the emergency room, doctors ordered a chest X-Ray and a bronchoscopy.
The medical team quickly realized that there were six pieces of popcorn embedded in Nash's lungs. Nash's body had gone into overdrive believing the popcorn was an infection, pneumonia was flooding Nash's lungs and they were so swollen that Nash underwent a second procedure to remove the popcorn.
"The second procedure was done and once again the poor guy had to be put under and rolled off to surgery."
According to KDVR, doctors recommend that children under the age of 5 avoid eating popcorn because their bodies aren’t strong enough to cough up tiny bits of food that could cause issues like these. Nicole said she had no idea about that advice.
“Never. Or I would have never given him popcorn,” Nicole said. “I’ve given [all of my kids] popcorn.”
Nicole has since wrote a Facebook post warning parents of the danger popcorn poses to small children, which has acquired over 45,000 comments and 137,000 likes.
"I got a lecture of course on how popcorn isn’t supposed to be given to anyone under 5," Nicole wrote. "I hate to use the excuse he’s our third child so I overlook and don’t pay as close attention to the do’s and dont’s as we did with our first."
Nicole added that she's thankful Nash is OK, and that she learned a valuable lesson.
"We're so thankful our little man came out OK. All of this over popcorn, which is eaten on a regular basis in our home."