10-month-old dies after choking on apple

Benjamin Philip Masters died after a visit to the zoo in Alfriston went devastatingly wrong


I and my two little girls, spend a great deal of time at our local zoo, we love to see the monkeys and play in the park. Every day I spend there makes me think how easily a first aid incident can occur and how precious each day with them is.

Last summer 10-month-old Benjamin Philip Masters died after a visit to the zoo in Alfriston went devastatingly wrong. Speaking at the inquest in Eastbourne town hall, his father Adam Masters thanked the staff at Drusillas as well as medical teams and hospital staff who worked hard to try and save his life.

Paediatric Choking Treatment

The inquest heard how Benjamin was in the picnic area with his brother Dominic and mother Lucy when he started to choke on a piece of apple. Trained through her job as an air hostess, Mrs Masters immediately started to give him first aid.

Cassie Poland, director at Drusillas, said in a statement that at around 11.20am a customer shouted that a child was choking outside Mungo’s cafe. Staff rushed over and administered CPR as the 10-month-old had gone into cardiac arrest. An ambulance was called and paramedics arrived on scene at the picnic area, the paramedics took over from Drusilla’s staff administering chest compressions and the piece of apple was eventually removed. 

Sadly after attempts from the first aiders and paramedics, Benjamin passed away after being taken to hospital when he went into cardiac arrest.

Benjamin's mother Lucy released a picture of him to the press as a warning of the dangers of choking to other parents. We are also so aware of the dangers of grapes its easy to overlook the dangers of apple.

Would you know what to do?

When an under 1 choke, we must act fast:

  • Can they cough?
  • 5 back blows
  • 5 chest thrusts
  • Repeat 
  • Call 999 If they become unconscious - are they breathing?
  • If not start CPR

Always be prepared, take one of our basic life support courses so that you know what to do in the case of an emergency

Written by Tara Burn (Trainer at Surrey First Aid)