THIS is a heartbroken mom's warning after her four-year-old son died when he inhaled a thumbtack.
Ayla Rutherford is sharing her story to advise other home-schooling parents to rid of all thumbtacks after her toddler son's tragic death.
The devastated mom has opened up about how she was stepping into the shower in January when she heard her family screaming.
After rushing to her family, she found her 29-year-old husband Josh performing the Heimlich maneuver, on their little boy, Axel.
Despite their efforts to save Axel, he lost consciousness, turned blue, and was rushed to Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma.
Doctors found Axel had not been choking – but had inhaled a common household drawing pin, which had pierced through his left lung and left him unable to breathe.
After a week on life support and four brain death tests, the young boy tragically passed away in his parents' arms – leaving his family to agonize over how a simple piece of stationery could have taken their boy away forever.
Ayla and Josh are now warning others to throw out any pins they have in their home to prevent their children suffering the same tragic fate.
In an effort to prevent this from happening to others, Ayla, who lives in Graham, Washington, said: "This was freak accident.
"All I want to do is prevent other people going through what we have to go through.
"I want to let people know that [pins are] such a normal thing to have in your house – to hang up posters, picture frames, Christmas lights, calendars.
"Everybody uses them and all it takes is for one little kid to pick it up, put it in their mouth, inhale it and puncture their lungs.
"If you have pins around the house, throw them out or lock them up. It's not worth your child's life or the pain.
"Me and my husband held Axel as he passed away. He was four years old, one month and four days old. I don't want anybody to have to go through this."
Within minutes of inhaling the thumbtack, the tot had lost consciousness and was turning blue, as Josh and his dad Stuart tried to do CPR before an ambulance arrived.
Ayla explained: "We thought my kid was choking – he wasn't breathing. He was trying but he couldn't. I was crying and screaming.
"My mother-in-law called 911 and my husband kept trying to get whatever it was out of [Axel's] mouth. We thought he was choking.
"We've dealt with [choking] before when they're babies. You get it out and it's fine, but my son lost consciousness and he was turning blue. My husband and father-in-law immediately started CPR."
She likened waiting for the ambulance as "the longest moment of my life."
Her neighbor, after hearing the commotion, performed chest compressions on her son.
At the hospital, it took hours for doctors to discover what exactly happened to Axel.
Nothing was found blocking the boy's through, however, a scan revealed the schoolboy had a thumbtack wedged "between his ribs" after having punctured his left lung.
"They had to do a tracheotomy and cut a hole in his throat to get it out. They eventually got it out and it was just a regular size thumbtack," Ayla explained.
"This is a kid who never put things in his mouth. It was the first time."
After a two-hour surgery, Ayla and Josh were able to visit their youngest child, who was hooked up to life support as he could no longer breathe for himself.
"The doctors pretty much told us that because he was without oxygen for so long and went into cardiac arrest five times, he wasn't going to come back from that," Ayla said. "They told us not to hope, but we did anyway."
Axel was in hospital for three days without getting better and then two tests were done to check if the boy was brain dead.
Doctors declared Axel brain dead at 1.35pm on January 17. The family had a memorial service and cremated him on Saturday, February 6.
Axel leaves behind his mom, dad, and his six-year-old brother Soren.
A GoFundMe page – launched to help with Axel's funeral costs – raised more than $1,300 by Thursday, February 25.
Since the tragic incident, Ayla has revealed her son – who she remembers as energetic, smart, and a lover of Rubik cubes – "never put anything weird in his mouth."
She added: "It's very scary. I'm a home-school mom so my entire home-schooling room, my posters, are held up by pins. Now everything has to be held up by sticky tape, blue tack. It's just not worth it – it's not."
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