Here's why popcorn isn't for toddlers - brave mum shares warning over 'harmless-looking' snack that can be a go-to

You might think twice about handing your child the snack

toddler eating popcorn stock image
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If popcorn is one of your go-to snacks to help keep your toddler's hunger at bay, then you might want to find an alternative after one brave mum shared the alarming incident that happened to her child after eating the popular treat.

Popcorn is one of the popular sleepover snacks, but parents will think twice before stocking it in their cupboards - as did you know that it is considered one of the deadliest choking hazards for children.

Hard and crunchy foods such as popcorn can easily get stuck in your child's throat. Even toddlers with fairly competent eating habits shouldn't be given this food - un-popped corn kernels are incredibly hard and can easily become lodged in airways. Its texture is a danger as other food products can stick to the popcorn and create a larger block of the airway which could be fatal.

An Instagram account @morenovalleymatters shared a video and captioned it, "A reader asked us to share. A safety reminder not to give certain foods to young children."

In the video, the mum shared, "Yesterday we were in Disneyland. Briar had a bite of popcorn in his mouth at 10 am. I went to take the bucket away as we were ready for a ride. He sucked in to cry and inhaled the popcorn. It went down his throat. He cleared it quickly. He cried and coughed for a while but we felt like it was behavioural."

But then, in a twist of events, the mum shared that he was "rushed in at 1am for emergency surgery". She explained, "He had popcorn remnants stuck in both his lungs, obstructing his airway. It wasn't until the surgeon came in to talk to us that we understood how serious it was. The surgeon made it very clear that it was very likely Briar would NOT make it through his surgery due to his low O2 levels and anticipating that the popcorn had expanded. All we could do was cling to our baby and beg the doctors to bring him back out safe to us. Briar is recovering in the NICU today."

The unnamed mother concluded, "Do not give nuts, popcorn, grapes, or raisins to kids under five. We are so happy and thankful to be snuggling him today!"


A photo posted by morenovalleymatters on

Parents have praised her for sharing her story, one wrote, "It’s unfortunate your child has endured this but kind of you to share this with the next parent that can find this information helpful. Plenty of us parents make mistakes and children don’t come with handbooks. God bless and heal your baby."

Another put, "My husband used to think I was overprotective, but parents sharing stories like this helped him understand I’m cautious for a reason!"

And a third parent added, "We have a very hard no-popcorn rule in our house. I’m thankful for videos like this that help educate more folks about the dangers. I’m so glad your sweet baby is ok!!"

In other family news, baby formula was recalled after a germ at risk of causing “sepsis or meningitis” in young children was found inside and here's the TikTok parenting trends that will be genuinely useful in 2024 – and #4 is genius.

Selina Maycock
Senior Family Writer

Selina is a Senior Family Writer for GoodtoKnow and has more than 16 years years of experience. She specialises in royal family news, including the latest activities of Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet. She also covers the latest government, health and charity advice for families. Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism, and gained her NCTJ and NCE qualifications. During her career, she’s also written for Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, and Woman's Weekly as well as Heat magazine, Bang Showbiz - and the Scunthorpe Telegraph. When she's not covering family news, you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories (including award-winning scarecrows!)