Hartlepool toddler Jacob Jenkins dies after choking on grape

Jacob Jenkins Image copyright Hartlepool Mail
Image caption Two-year-old Jacob Jenkins choked on a grape at a Pizza Hut restaurant on Friday

A toddler has died in hospital five days after choking on a grape in a Pizza Hut restaurant.

Two-year-old Jacob Jenkins reportedly stopped breathing for 30 minutes after swallowing the fruit on Friday.

Parents Abigail Wilson and David Jenkins chose to turn off his life support on Wednesday, at the moment well-wishers released balloons.

A Pizza Hut spokeswoman said it had "removed grapes from the menu with immediate effect".

The firm was "devastated to learn of Jacob's tragic death", she said, and added the Hartlepool Hut would be closed on Thursday as a "sign of respect".


Jacob was taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, where he was put into an induced coma.

On Wednesday night, hundreds of yellow balloons were released on Seaton Carew seafront in his honour.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Pizza Hut has closed their site in Hartlepool as a "sign of respect"

A statement on a fundraising page set up in support of his family announced his "heartbreaking" death.

"Baby Jacob gained his Angel Wings at 7PM tonight. The exact time everyone set off their yellow balloons in Hartlepool and far beyond," it said.

The page has raised more than £9,000 toward's the toddler's funeral costs.

Audio: What to do if your child is choking

Five steps to help save someone's life

  • Encourage the person to cough
  • With the person leaning forward, give up to five sharp back blows between their shoulder blades
  • For a baby, lay them face down on a thigh and support their head. Give up to five blows between their shoulder blades
  • If they are over one year old, give up to five abdominal thrusts
  • If that does not work, call for an ambulance, repeating the steps above until it arrives.

Source: St John Ambulance

Joanne Thompson, who set up Millie's Trust after her nine-month-old daughter choked to death on shepherd's pie, said choking incidents can be difficult to prevent.

She said: "A lot of people don't understand the dangers of just simple foods, or that children can pick things up off the floor... you've got to be vigilant all the time.

"Things like this happen, they're accidents and it doesn't matter how much effort you put into making sure your children are safe, unfortunately just like Jacob, this was a complete a tragic accident."

Iain Johnstone, a consultant in paediatric intensive care at the Great North Children's Hospital, in Newcastle, said a number of factors make youngsters susceptible to choking.

He said: "Toddlers are at an age when they pick things up and put them in their mouths.

"They also have smaller airways than adults - narrowing as they go down, like a funnel.

"Unfortunately, a grape is the perfect shape and size to block the airway and cause choking."

'Gone too soon'

Tributes have been left to the toddler on a Facebook page set up in his memory.

Jaki Rutherford said: "Gone too soon little Jacob, sleeping with the angels, thinking of your mam, dad and all your family xx"

Nikki Jones said: "Cannot imagine the pain his whole family must be feeling, such a tragic end to what was meant to be a simple family meal. RIP little one x"

Sharon Mitchell said: "R.I.P gorgeous little man. Sweet dreams. Thoughts are with his family at this very sad time. Fly with the Angels xx"

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