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3 year old boy chokes on popcorn at the cinema

New York Valley Stream Deontea Riley

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#1 Atavus


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Posted 21 August 2004 - 02:21 PM

Taken from CNN:


VALLEY STREAM, New York (AP) -- A 3-year-old boy choked to death while eating popcorn at a movie theater.

Deontea Riley, of New York City, was at the Sunrise Multiplex Cinemas in Long Island's Valley Stream watching "Alien vs. Predator" with his parents and older brother when he began to choke shortly before 7 p.m. Sunday, Nassau County police said.

The family all had been eating from a small tub of popcorn when Elaine McIntosh, the boy's mother, saw that her youngest son was choking.

His parents rushed him out of the theater where they performed the Heimlich maneuver without success.
While I feel very sorry for the family because of their loss, what was a 3 year old doing in a movie that's rated PG13 in the first place? Who let him in? Why did the parents take him?
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#2 ZipperInt

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Posted 21 August 2004 - 02:45 PM

I feel bad for the loss. As for the 3yr old in a PG-13 movie, I don't think it was the brightest thing for the parents to do...
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#3 HubcapDave


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Posted 21 August 2004 - 02:53 PM

Well, the rating does allow for that kind of latitude, though I owuld certainly think three times beofre showing that kind of movie to a three year old.

#4 Hambil

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Posted 21 August 2004 - 03:06 PM

Or, giving popcorn to a three year old while they watch a scary movie. I'm not convinced the two events (scary movie at an unappropriate age and choking to death on popcorn) are entirely unrelated.

#5 eechick

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Posted 21 August 2004 - 05:51 PM

Uh, ya check on the kids when you're watching a movie.  I can't be the only one who looks at the kids at least to check for reactions to the movies. How did the parents not notice?  And this could have happened during any movie.

Edited by eechick, 21 August 2004 - 05:56 PM.

#6 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 21 August 2004 - 07:17 PM

I feel for the family's loss, but who the frell gives popcorn to a child that age? Let alone takes them to that kind of a movie? Total stupidity.
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#7 Anakam


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Posted 21 August 2004 - 09:18 PM

Popcorn in a movie at 3?

Time for some parenting classes, or reading books by Dr Spock or somebody.

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#8 Shalamar


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Posted 21 August 2004 - 09:25 PM

Not having been regularly around children of that age, I don't know what they are capable of eating safely.

My heart goes out to the family -  but  a child in a darkened theater, scarey movie, and small, nibble type food is just a tragedy waiting to happen.  IMO
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#9 RommieSG


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Posted 21 August 2004 - 09:46 PM

A tragedy indeed. I feel for the family.

But I'm not entirely convinced that the movie itself was a bad idea. I was taken to see Robocop when I was 6 years old. Y'all know how bloody that movie was, with all the gunplay in it. It was part of a Double Feature. My parents wanted to see 'Back to the Beach' with Annette and Frankie. ;)

The Popcorn......yeah. Bad Idea. Movie + Popcorn + Age of Child is what I believe led to the incident.

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#10 Orpheus


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Posted 22 August 2004 - 12:24 AM

Good Lord!

I was a foster parent in the late 80s/early 90s, and went through formal training  in what was and wasn't safe. Back then, popcorn was officially okay over age 2.  We were also taught (e.g.) to cut hot dogs in quarters and then into 1" segements before serving them to kids under 6 -preferably 8- and given a special tube the size of a 6 year old pharynx to test for choking hazards (and I'd like to point out that popcorn WOULD have passed that choke tube test!) Doing that when I was a kid would probably have gotten you labelled as a very poor 'neurotic' parent who was probbaly messing his/her kids up.

How many of you ate hot dogs without special help before you were 6 or 8? Hundreds of millions of US kids did. It'd be easy to find families where four or more generations did. If you include the sausages that preceded the formal "hot dog", there's no telling how  far back the chain would go. Heck, they served me hot dogs in kindergarten and first grade (and for that matter, served them to my kids, well after the "danger" was known.)

Yes, there's a risk. Yes, I'd hope every parent would be better trained and would exercise better judgement. In fact, I think that most parents don't do one-tenth as good a job as they think they do. For all our overprotectiveness on trivial issues, our best estimates of emotional, physical and sexual abuse truly stunning, and we really do nect to nothing to help the tens of millins of affected children, while focusing on a few dozen choking deaths. I believe that out society couldn't handle truly protecting  kids, and can only sweat the small stuff because dealing with the major problems would require massive social overhaul, and probably change the family forever.

But I'll back off on that rant, because typing the pages of documentation and cites to convince you would make me blow a few brain vessels, and Lord only knows I can't spare any.

Suffice it to say that I believe that though al most all parents insist they are "doing their best", most are just barely doing what they believe is "good enough". In spite of that, It really chafes me to read criticism of parents for "not knowing better" than to shield their kids from risks in the parts per million range. Were none of us ever children ourselves? Did we never eat hot dogs or play with balloons (not recommended for small children for a solid generation now, because the fragments when they pop can pose a choking hazard.) or experience any of the thousand traumas of childhood that kill several kids every year, from stepping off a curb and biting our tongue to eating peanuts (now considered an inhalation hazard) or consuming honey (once considered healthy, but now considered a serious risk for babies)? Heck - many of our mothers ate rare steak while pregnant (or trying) under medical advice in the 50s/60s, but by 1980, that was listed as a birth defect hazard (toxoplasmosis). How many of us never choked at some point?

Bottom line: yeah, I watched my kids when they ate popcorn, and did a lot of other things (I loved watching my kids do anything, even snore). Yet on purely scientific grounds, I don;t think our kids are better off with all of today's warnings and supervision than we were without them. I can definitely tell you that there is NO written guidelines in any of the 50 states that you can follow to guarantee that you will be judged "fit" or "not negligent" by any state agency. If the self-appointed experts can't draft them, how can anyone be expected to know them?

Do I think we need drastically overhaul how we raise kids? You betcha!
Do I think I know a parent who can afford to throw stones on this popcorn issue? No.

The kid gets my sympathies, posthumously. The parents, however lame they may be, get my sympathies for a loss that will haunt them the rest of their lives. The self-righteous, self appointed critics only get what little restraint keeps me for telling them, in excruciating detail, what I think of them -- with a ball peen hammer.

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#11 Bad Wolf

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Posted 22 August 2004 - 12:27 AM

Good post Orph.  I'm not a parent so...

I think I was introduced to popcorn at a relatively young age.  I think my objection in this scenario is that 1) a theater is dark so you can't really see how much a child that young is putting in their mouth.  It's not like feeding a kid at the dinner table.  2) AVP?  For a three year old?  I think not.

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#12 LaughingVulcan


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Posted 22 August 2004 - 11:41 PM

I know that I would love to find a scapegoat when things like this happen.  The death that happened, though, I hope is punishment enough for the parents to have to deal with.

I say hope, because taking someone that young into something like AvP seems to indiciate to me that the parent's desire for entertainment was more important than their child's well being.  Maybe that makes me a prude, or a judgmental asteriskable.  But there is no way I can be convinced that someone that young was taken into that theatre for his entertainment.  Maybe I was spoiled, but I know that my parents gave up a lot of their lives to raise me.  When I see a sixteen year old mother with a less than three-month old at a High School basketball game, or read something like this, it goes beyond risk.  It goes into the realm of pure stupidity.  Whether theirs or mine I can't tell.

Criminal stupidity, no.  But my desire for justice (or maybe vengeance) makes me hope that those parents are as hurt by this as much as I was in reading it.

And I suppose that, to make some good come out of something bad, it makes me want to take first aid and CPR yet again.  (And do the infant/child courses, too.)

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#13 Raina


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Posted 23 August 2004 - 02:10 AM

I've noticed that a few people have commented on the parents not paying enough attention to their kid, but doesn't the fact that they rushed him out and attempted the Heilmich manouver indicate that they were paying attention?

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