Mum issues blackberry picking warning after son chokes to death

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Child blackberry choking danger
A mother from Norfolk whose son died choking on a blackberry is urging parents to be more cautious about children eating whole fruits.

Serena Ford lost her 'handsome and cheeky' 15-month-old son last September, three days after he choked on a blackberry.

The tragedy happened when the toddler was out for a walk with his father Robert and five-year-old sister Olivia. The family were walking their family dogs and stopped to pick some blackberries off a bush.

Even though Thomas had eaten the fruit before and the family would often pick them, he choked and quickly became unconscious, despite his father's efforts to help him.

Thomas' parents tried CPR until the air ambulance arrived, but staff at hospital were unable to save the toddler.

Speaking to the BBC, Thomas' mum said the family had been going through a 'living nightmare'.

'How we ever begin to know how to live without him is as yet still beyond us. It's like you're in a bubble. Everyone else is just getting on with their lives, but we're stuck thinking 'are we going to wake up from it?'' she explained.

Paying tribute to their bundle of energy and joy who would make everybody laugh, the family said that Thomas was a Taylor Swift fan because of his two older sisters, and that he was always dancing with the music in full volume.

The grieving mum also said her two daughters, Olivia and younger child Emily, three, have been a great support: 'Children are quite matter-of-fact at that age and that helps me.'

They were told by their parents that Thomas had gone to the moon and that he wasn't coming back, and since then the girls have been drawing pictures of themselves travelling to the moon in a rocket to visit their brother.

Mrs Ford is now fighting to raise awareness to the dangers of children eating whole fruit, trying to turn her family's tragedy in to an example for other parents.

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'I want to make people aware and if something good can come from this then it can only be a good thing. I didn't think you could choke on a blackberry, as soft as it is, but there is a potential risk in everything. I don't want people to be paranoid, I want children to be children and explore, but parents need to be more mindful of things they wouldn't necessarily think are harmful.'

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