Little Boy Paralyzed for Life after Choking on an Apple at Daycare

In a heart-wrenching event, a preschool toddler was left brain-damaged after choking on a piece of apple at daycare. The mishap prompted a food policy change at over 120 preschools across New Zealand. 

Neihana Renata was left paralyzed after a piece of an apple lodged in his throat in May 2016. Although the daycare supervisors tried to remove the fruit from his airways, the little boy went into cardiac arrest for 30 minutes straight.

A smiling Neihana Renata. | Source:YouTube/1news

A smiling Neihana Renata. | Source:YouTube/1news

One of the teachers even tried mouth-to-mouth resuscitation but the poor child ended up vomiting blood into her mouth.

The unfortunate event happened when he was merely 22 months old. 

 Neihana Renata with his parents and his sister. | Source:YouTube/1news

Neihana Renata with his parents and his sister. | Source:YouTube/1news

The toddler was then transported to a hospital where he spent two weeks in the intensive care ward and an additional two months in the hospital. Since Neihana’s brain was deprived of oxygen for a long time, he was left with a severe motor disability. Being unable to talk, walk, or move on his own, he cannot run and play outside like he used to.

 Neihana Renata in the hospital after choking on an apple. | Source:YouTube/1news

Neihana Renata in the hospital after choking on an apple. | Source:YouTube/1news

Little Neihana is prone to chest infections, requiring close attention from his mother who has left her job as a doctor to care for him.

Dr. Sarah Alexander from ChildForum who published a report into the incident said the little kid “would never have choked” if the Ministry of Health Guidelines had been followed in the first place.

 Neihana Renata with his sister. | Source:YouTube/1news

Neihana Renata with his sister. | Source:YouTube/1news

However, Ministry of Education spokeswoman Katrina Casey said the guidelines were shown to be “clear and fit for purpose” post review after the incident. 

The preschool “Little Lights Kindy” in Rotorua was bought by Evolve, which owns over 120 center-based ECE facilities around New Zealand. It operates under brands including Active Explorers, Little Lights, and Lollipops. 

 Neihana Renata with his sister. | Source:YouTube/1news

Neihana Renata with his sister. | Source:YouTube/1news

Evolve updated its food policy after the incident with hard fruits including apples served to under 3s only if they are peeled and grated, cooked, or mashed. 

Following some quick actions when a child is choking can help save their life. Some of them include a quick assessment of the situation through tell-tale signs like change in skin color, dislodging the object with back bows and chest thrusts, CPR, chest compressions, and rescue breaths. 

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