An investigation into toy safety is underway following the death of a Tasmanian boy who choked on a “bounce ball” just larger than an Australian 50 cent piece ahead of his fourth birthday.
Tasmania’s Consumer Services Office is working with police and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to establish the circumstances involved in the tragedy and the specifics of the plastic ball that blocked Alby Fox Davis’ windpipe on Monday afternoon.
“We will attempt to establish the retailer from which the toy was purchased and from there the manufacturer, to determine the specific nature of the toy and whether or not it complied with product safety laws,” executive director Dale Webster told the ABC.
“My sympathies go out to this young family and the Wynyard community.”
In an Instagram post responding to a “media storm” of “hurtful and incorrect assumptions”, Alby Davis’ mother Anna clarified she had tried to save Alby through cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for “16 excruciating minutes until paramedics arrived”.
“I was three feet away from Alby when the incident occurred and was by his side within seconds,” Mrs Davis said on her social media page.
The mother from Wynyard in Tasmania’s north west coast, posted a photograph of the ball next to an Australian 50 cent piece and an image of the toy packaging, including a warning the ball was “not suitable for children under three years”.
She said Alby was a few days away from turning four, and therefore almost one year older than the choking hazard warning on the ‘PG Masks Bounce Balls’.
“As the media storm surrounding our family swirled yesterday, I beg you – this beautiful, loving community – to disregard the many ignorant, hurtful and incorrect assumptions that have been formed regarding the more specific details of Alby’s passing,” Mrs Davis said in the Instagram post.
While the Davis family has asked for privacy, more than 8000 people around the world have donated $240,000 to the family through a crowd funding page.
The GoFundMe page explains Alby’s father, Simon, is a relief teacher and not able to take leave to mourn his son.
“In this time of unfathomable grief, this beautiful family need time to mourn and surround each other in love, without the financial burdens of daily life and work commitments on their minds,
“As Simon is a relief teacher, he is not entitled to any leave, and as so many of you know, Anna is self-employed with her much loved business, The Small Folk,” the page said.
The Wynyard family has almost 100,000 followers on their social media page, The Small Folk, with thousands of images of Alby and his two siblings, Acre and Sage on beach trips or playing with toys from the family’s “holistic” toys and home wares business.
Alby’s death has created a ripple effect across the community of Wynyard, with a meal roster set up and a vigil to be held this Sunday at the town’s C3 Church.