Swarnshree at her Harmu Housing Colony residence in Ranchi on Monday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Horrified parents of a girl, not yet three, got the shock of their lives on April 26 as they watched her choke and gasp, blood oozing out of her nose.
Seconds ago, she was happily sucking on an ice cube. Luckily, toddler Swarnshree Bharti of Harmu in Ranchi is alive and well.
As summer temperatures shoot through the roof, welcome a new threat. It’s a seasonal favourite, but slippery and just about the right size to become a choking hazard. It’s the everyday ice cube.
Birendra Kumar, who owns a well-known cosmetics store in Harmu, discovered as much on April 26 evening.
“On Saturday evening, one of my lady staffers reached my residence and asked my wife Babita for chilled water. As my wife took out an ice tray from the fridge to put cubes into the glass, my younger daughter Swarnshree Bharti popped one into her mouth. Somehow, the ice cube got stuck in her throat. She gagged and gasped. Blood started coming out of her nose. But before we could decide on the next course of action, the ice cube melted and my daughter gradually caled down,” the father recalled.
Rajesh Yadav, a JAP driver deputed at the home of slain Pakur SP Amarjeet Balihar and Swarnshree’s uncle, said everyone was relieved only when they saw her speaking normally.
“The sight of blood was horrible. Swarnshree will complete three years of age on June 12, which is why I guess we got very scared,” he said.
On Monday morning, the girl was found at her father’s shop, sitting on her grandfather R.B. Yadav’s lap and smartly fiddling with a Smartphone.
“Gala mein baraf atak gaya tha, thik ho gaya (ice got stuck in my throat, now everything is fine),” she calmly said. But when asked if she would suck an ice cube again, her face reflected her fear. “Kabhi nahin baba (never again),” the child stressed.
Ranchi-based ENT surgeon V.K. Verma said an ice cube would melt before any real damage, but still, parents of toddlers needed to be extra careful. He explained why blood came from the little girl’s nose.
“The edge of an ice cube cut the inner lining of the child’s throat. Some blood trickled out of her nose. But there is nothing to worry now,” he said.
He added that though ice cubes normally had sharp edges, they also melted from the corner, smoothing them out. If any food particle or liquid enters the respiratory canal, it is expelled through the nose or mouth, he added, explaining why the blood came out of the nose.