A mum has pleaded with families to ditch an everyday object from their home after her four-year-old son was declared brain dead and died after swallowing the dangerous item.
Ayla Rutherford had just stepped into the shower when family members, who gathered at her home for her six-year-old son's birthday on January 9, yelled hysterically for her help.
When she made it to the commotion downstairs, her husband was frantically performing the Heimlich manoeuvre on her youngest son Axel.
"I came downstairs to see my family trying to get whatever was in his throat out. He died in his daddy's arms. The EMT's tried to bring him back," Ms Rutherford said in a post shared online.
She said "nothing worked" and Axel was rushed to Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma, in the US state of Washington.
The mum said after waiting for hours that "felt like weeks", doctors revealed what item caused Axel to choke.
"He had found a tack. A thumb tack. I don't know where he found it. It doesn't look like any I have in the homeschool room or anywhere. He had inhaled it. It punctured his lung," she said.
"It had punctured his right lung and blocked the other. They told us because he was without oxygen for more than 20 minutes that he would be brain dead."
"Because of being without oxygen for so long my baby went to heaven on January 17 at 1.35 pm."
The family were given a few extra days with Axel before his life support was switched off after he "twitched" and tried to gasp for air.
"I thank God for the extra days to be with him, even though he couldn't do anything," the mum said.
"Unfortunately on Saturday [January 16] we got a call from one of the doctors on staff. He said he did a brain death test. He said he was aggressive with him to try and see something, anything and nothing happened."
The mother has since campaigned for other households to remove thumb tacks and replace them with something harmless.
"I just want you all to know parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends, it took a tack to take my baby from me," she wrote.
"To wreck his entire body. So please, please remove all your tacks it isn't worth it. Tape is my new best friend. I love and thank everyone of you who prayed for my baby."
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