Mom posts terrifying photos to help spread awareness
If you haven’t heard by now how dangerous wire grill brushes are, let this be your big warning. A four-year-old boy is on the mend after getting a stray bristle caught in his throat. And now his mother is warning everyone to throw away those brushes ASAP.
Jenna Kuchik of Alberta posted the terrifying ordeal to Facebook last week. She and her family were sitting down to a family dinner of BBQ chicken when things got scary quickly. Her son Oliver had swallowed something very painful.
“Just minutes after eating BBQ chicken last night Ollie started crying and complaining there was something stuck and hurting his throat,” she writes. “After suspecting a BBQ bristle was stuck, Matt checked the other chicken that we hadn’t eaten yet and found one in there too. [An] X-ray confirmed a few hours later that there was indeed a metal BBQ brush bristle in my little boy’s throat.”
She says for the two hours they were in the hospital her son was gagging and spitting. Eventually, the little boy underwent surgery and had two bristles removed.
“It was the most awful and difficult 24 hours of my life watching my son in so much pain, not being able to do anything to make it better, and know that this could have been 100 percent avoidable,” the mom writes. “We even have a wooden BBQ grill cleaner still new in package that we’ve been meaning to use.”
While it appears Oliver will be OK, other people who accidentally ingest metal bristles from grill brushes may not be so lucky. Most injuries are reported in the mouth and throat, but in rare instances people have sustained stomach and intestinal injuries from swallowing the bristles, according to a 2016 study published in the Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery medical journal.
In truth, the injury doesn’t happen that much – only 1,700 Americans went to an emergency room between 2002 and 2014 for accidentally ingesting wire bristles in grilled food. But, one in four of those with grill brush injuries are admitted to the hospital. Meaning if it happens to you, it’s likely to turn into a serious medical issue. Additionally, it’s believed that the numbers available might not represent the real number of grill bristle injuries because the findings were based only on ER visits, not urgent care facilities or outpatient settings.
The biggest take away from this story: throw those damn grill brushes out.
“I am so grateful he is okay, but I just don’t ever want something like this to happen to someone else,” she writes.
And we’re grateful for her sharing her story. I had no idea these brushes posed a danger until I read her story. I promptly emailed my husband and instructed him to toss ours.
“I hope that other parents who read this, or stories like this, take it seriously. We had just read an article about something like this a few months earlier, ordered a wooden grill cleaner, but never got around to using it,” Kuchik explains in a statement to Good Housekeeping.com. “You never think something like this will happen to you or your kids. I can’t stress enough that this is 100 percent avoidable. Please, if you are using a metal BBQ brush, throw it out and find an alternative method to clean your grill.”
Consumer Reports recommends using crumpled up aluminum foil to clean grates or you can use a coil, bristle-free brush.