09/07/2014 07:42 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 06:12 BST

Toddler Choked To Death On Raw Jelly Cube At Nursery

Central News

Central News

A 22-month-old girl choked to death on a raw jelly cube during 'free flow play' at her nursery.

An inquest was told that Tiya Chauhan became unconscious and stopped breathing after crawling between three rooms at the Dicky Birds nursery in Wimbledon, south London.

Staff at the family-owned nursery dialled 999 and paramedics removed a piece of 'jelly-like substance' from Tiya's airway.

She was taken by ambulance to St George's Hospital, Tooting, but died later the same day. The tragedy happened in August 2012.

At the inquest into the toddler's death, Tiya's dad Chetan Chauhan, 37, wept as he said his daughter was 'smiling and happy' on the last day he saw her alive.

He told the hearing London's Royal Courts of Justice that his daughter was a 'character' who was 'already forming her own personality'.
She'd loved going to nursery and was 'smiling and happy' on the day he dropped her off for the last time.

He said: "She was a perfectly happy child. She was smiling and quite happy that day, everything was fine."

Mr Chauhan's wife Dipta, 36, wept in the public gallery as her husband told the jury about their young daughter and showed a picture of her weeks before her death.

Mr Chauhan said: "Tiya was a character. I remember her at home playing with her brother with their toys.

"She was loud. She was forming her personality, she would pull her brother off her toys and push him away, but she was quite affectionate with her brother and with us.

"Tiya was loved by everybody. She was an infectious child. She would go up to anybody, she wasn't afraid of anything."

The parents, who have three other children, did careful research before choosing a nursery for Tiya and her older brother, the inquest heard.

However, Mr Chauhan said he was dismayed when he collected his tiny daughter from day care one afternoon with teeth marks on her cheek in January 2012, and she was bitten again in February.

He said: "At the time my wife felt maybe she should take Tiya out of nursery."

Recalling the fatal incident, nursery room leader Ashleigh Brooks told the inquest jelly had been used as a sensory play activity at the nursery 'for years' but that it was 'hardly ever out'.

She said: "We either had cubes put out so it's sticky, touchy-feely sort of thing or melted. It's always in the cupboard."

She said that there had been 'a few issues' during 'free flow play' in the past because it was harder to supervise the children.

Ms Brooks said: "Some days it did work but other times it was used a little too much."

But she added the children 'really loved the chance to explore' and play with different activities.

Staff member Deborah Malone said moments before the incident, 'the jelly was in a water tray and Tiya was standing there with another little girl... They were both playing and I sort of waved and gave them a big smile. They were playing like there wasn't a problem'.

The inquest continues.