It was a Mother's Day dinner Mr Jonathan Wong's family will want to forget.
After the first bite of her meal, his two-year-old daughter started to vomit.
Mr Wong, who has a seven-year-old son and two-year-old twins, a boy and a girl, found a 5cm-long fish bone in the vomit.
The family was shocked.
The Wong family, Mr Wong's mother, his aunt, his sister and a maid, were at Tampines 1 to celebrate Mother's Day on Sunday when it happened.
His children love Japanese food so they decided to eat at MOF @ My Izakaya.
Mr Wong ordered a kid's meal codfish set for his twins. After taking her first bite, the girl began to choke and throw up.
Mr Wong said: "Her face went very white and she vomited five to six times."
The restaurant was full, but he said that none of the other patrons or restaurant staff offered help.
His daughter began to get her colour back after she threw up the bone. She was well enough to drink after an hour.
Mr Wong said he found another bone in the uneaten portion of the codfish.
He made sure his younger son, who had the same meal, had no bones in his fish.
Although the manager was apologetic and gave him a 50 per cent discount on the meal, Mr Wong was outraged that the restaurant was unable to give him an explanation.
He said: "They should have double checked for bones since it was a kid's meal."
He added that his children eat fish thrice a week, but have never had such a scare over fish bones.
Although it happens rarely, people have died from choking on fish bones. In 1996, a teenage girl vomited blood and died weeks after a fish bone became stuck in her throat.
The restaurant told The New Paper yesterday that it is still investigating. Its spokesman said that there are safety precautions to prevent such an incident from happening. The fillets used in children's meals are deboned and stored separately.
Mr Wong is worried that the incident may leave a mental scar on his daughter.
He said: "She has not woken up crying at night since February, but she had nightmares last night."
Mr Wong's wife, Madam Ann Ng, was also disappointed that her Mother's Day dinner had turned sour.
She said: "It is a rare occasion when we go to a restaurant with the children - (and then) this had to happen."
HOW TO PREVENT CHOKING ON FISH BONES
The Health Promotion Board provides some general advice for parents to prevent their children from choking on fish bones:
- Do not feed children while they are crying or lying flat.
- Remind children not to play, talk or laugh while eating.
- Check food carefully for bones before feeding.
IF A BONE IS SWALLOWED...
Dr Ng Siau Peng, a general practitioner with Frontier Healthcare, suggests the following measures:
- Stop eating and drink some water.
- If pain or discomfort persists, seek immediate medical attention.
- Do not swallow large amounts of rice in an attempt to dislodge the bone - it may worsen the condition by pushing the bone deeper.
KK Women's and Children's Hospital advises that children who have swallowed a bone may complain of pain in the throat only after a few hours.
Parents should immediately take the child to the accident & emergency department where an X-ray and special instruments will be used to find and remove the bone.
This article was published on May 13 in The New Paper.Get The New Paper for more stories.