A British father is accused of force-feeding his toddler so much food that the 3-year-old literally drowned in it, the Sun is reporting.
British law prohibits releasing the names of suspected child abusers to the media, so the 32-year-old man from West London will be referred to as “Mr. F” for the remainder of this post, for simplicity’s sake. He stands accused of making the 3-year-old lie across his lap as he pinched his cheeks and poured a “porridge-like” mixture of bread, milk, oats, and Weetabix (a British breakfast cereal similar to shredded wheat).
At other times, he would allegedly force-feed the boy spaghetti or rice pudding.
Whenever the boy would vomit, Mr. F would become enraged and slap him or send him to his room.
Prosecutor Simon Denison QC told the jury that the positioning made it impossible for the boy’s body to reject any food that went down the wrong pipe.
“It is alleged that because of the way the youngster would have been laid across his father’s lap, he would not have been able to lean forward and cough up any food that went down the wrong way.”
Denison also pointed out that restraining the toddler and force-feeding him like that would have required a considerable amount of force, according to BBC News.
“His distress would have been obvious as he kicked and wriggled to try and free himself, and, he being a large three-year-old boy, it would have taken force to restrain him.”
On November 27, 2015, the Mr. F’s alleged force-feeding of the toddler came to an end, once and for all. Paramedics were called to the home after the boy stopped breathing. They found the 3-year-old, in his diaper, showing no signs of life.
“There was a very large amount of vomit that looked like a porridge substance on his face and on his chest and and not the floor.”
Paramedics had difficulty clearing the boy’s airway, so stuffed with food were his mouth and esophagus. When paramedics attempted to perform CPR on the boy, food emerged from his lungs. An autopsy would later reveal that “virtually every section” of his lungs was filled with food. In essence, this caused the boy to drown.
Mr. F was arrested and charged with manslaughter and cruelty to a child.
Although this case sounds heinous, force-feeding children is often overlooked, if not encouraged, in some cultures.
According to Indian parenting blog Wonder Woman, the problem of force-feeding children is particularly pronounced in India.
“If you ask parents, they will tell you that they do it because they want their kids to grow up to be healthy and strong. A critical-and often unstated-assumption that these parents make is that children do not instinctively know when or how much to eat. The truth, of course, is the opposite: human infants – like those of any other animal – are programmed to survive, and therefore, know exactly when and how much to eat. The real reason why parents force-feed is because the parents feel insecure about their kids’ physical stature. Parents want their kids to get physically big so that they are not ‘eaten alive’ by the other kids.”
Of course, pediatricians will tell you that you should never force-feed a child. Besides the immediate problem of aspiration (that is, accidentally getting food particles into the lungs), the process also teaches kids unhealthy eating habits that could lead to obesity, diabetes, and other problems.
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