Child (8) chokes to death on suction cup from toy gun ‘arrow’

2008-01-11 00:00

Vanderbijlpark — An eight-year-old boy who was playing with his Christmas toy "gun" (which launches arrows with suction cup heads) choked to death when a suction cup lodged in his windpipe.

Jaco Derwig (pictured) died shortly before New Year when he licked the suction cup, which came loose and went down his windpipe.

Lenie Pretorius, Jaco’s granny, said her grandson suddenly jumped out of bed just after 6 am on the morning he died, and ran to his uncle Wikus de Klerk’s bedroom.

"I wondered why he was up so early and why he was running around. I asked him. He just pointed at his throat, and we could see he was struggling to breathe."

His mother, Cilie Derwig, said De Klerk gave Jaco a glass of water. "All of it just came up immediately.

"When his ears turned blue, my mother phoned the ambulance. It was just after 6 am. Then he turned blue around his mouth. His legs began to wobble and he kept pointing at his throat. We couldn’t understand what he was trying to tell us. He became weaker right in front of our eyes and we couldn’t help him."

Pretorius said two ambulance men from Sedibeng arrived at their house at 6.50 am.

Jaco had already lost consciousness. "I told the ambulance staff that the child was struggling to get air. His heart was still beating and he still had a pulse."

The ambulance crew were unable to save Jaco, and Pretorius said a doctor at Sebokeng (whose name she did not remember) removed the suction cup after making a hole in his throat.

Jaco got the little toy gun from a school friend.

"It was a Christmas present and he was very excited about it. He played with it every day."

The plastic gun and two arrows were made in China and retail at The Crazy Store for R11,99.

There’s a warning on the packaging that it could present a choking hazard and that children under three years of age should not play with it.

Wayne Botes, acting operational commander of Sebokeng Emergency Services, said the matter is being investigated.

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