Thomas Lawlor (28) is a huge video game fan, playing whenever he gets a chance. On October 26th, Thomas was watching his two-year-old son Grayson while his wife Holly (26) was working. Lawlor took the child to the local library and out to lunch before returning home, where he set him up on the couch with his new books and a snack before beginning to play his game.
“I put my headphones on,” says Thomas. “Grayson was sitting right next to me, his leg was touching mine, so I thought it would be ok. He was reading his books and eating his fruit, and I was playing my game. He has a controller that I don’t plug in that he uses to pretend he’s playing with me, and he had that next to him to.”
Father and son were perfectly content for over half an hour before Grayson choked on a piece of watermelon. Thomas was so absorbed in his game that he continued to play while his son struggled to breathe next to him. “I thought he was just fidgeting,” Thomas says. “I could feel him squirming next to me, but then I looked over, and the poor kid was turning blue and panicking. I immediately grabbed him and did the Heimlich so he could breathe again.”
Thomas immediately called 911, who dispatched EMT’s to the home. Grayson was evaluated and determined to be ok before first responders left the home. Thomas remains haunted by the possibility of what could have occurred that day had he not turned away from his game. “My boy was literally choking to death, and I didn’t know,” he says. “If I had looked over even thirty seconds later, I don’t know if he would have been ok. I can’t stop beating myself up over it. It’s definitely turned me off to playing, to the point where I’m thinking of selling my whole system.”