Family Discovers Why 5-Year-Old Collapsed And Died In School Cafeteria

An otherwise healthy 5-year-old girl in Texas dropped dead in her school cafeteria on Feb. 2.

A pre-kindergarten student at Worth Heights Elementary School in Fort Worth, Texas, Belen Maldonado collapsed during lunch at 11 a.m., the Daily Mail reports.

She died an hour later, after being rushed to an area children’s hospital.

School officials say federal law prohibits them from discussing the exact events that led to her death.

Family members say they suspect she choked on her lunch without anybody noticing in time to save her.

Later that same day, a close friend of the family set up a GoFundMe account to help the child’s family cover funeral expenses.

“Helping out a hard working family who has always worked to provide for the family,” wrote Debby Oviedo on the page, while calling Belen a “sweet baby.”

Oviedo aims to raise $5,000 for the family. The fund had more than $2,500 in it the day after Belen’s death.

“I am sorry for your loss,” wrote one woman who donated $20, adding, “Prayers for this angel and your family.”

If the cause of death is choking, Belen would not be the first child to die or experience injury because of it.

A 2013 Nationwide Children’s Hospital reveals choking “is a leading cause of injury among children” under the age of 14, reports ScienceDaily.

Children 4 years old or younger are particularly at risk.

Statistics like these have been a cause of concern for some, particularly as few states mandate school officials know how to administer CPR, reports Student CPR.

“How is it possible that it’s not a law in every state for a staff of people who are paid to teach and work around students all day to know CPR?” writes Maria Guido, senior news editor for Scary Mommy.

“In a country where 27 states require high school seniors to take a CPR class before they graduate, doesn’t it seem ridiculous that we don’t expect it of teachers and administrators across the board? I never even thought to ask if my son’s kindergarten teacher knew CPR — I just assumed she did.”

Sources: Daily MailGoFundMeScience DailyStudent CPRScary Mommy / Photo credit: GoFundMe