10-month-old dies at North Carolina day care after choking on pine cone

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Police in North Carolina are investigating after they said a 10-month-old baby choked to death on a pine cone.

Authorities said it happened just before 11 a.m. on Wednesday at the A Hug A Day Daycare, which is run out of a home on Adcox Place in Raleigh.

Family members identified the 10-month-old boy as Areon Ellington.

One of the baby's family members told sister station ABC11 on Facebook, "This baby had a piece of pine cone in his mouth and it blocked his air passage."

The baby's death was ruled accidental.

State license records show the daycare has three out of five stars.

It has been in operation since 2003, and the state has never had to take corrective action against the daycare.

In addition, the state reports it made five unannounced visits to the daycare over the last three years. Some violations were noted during three of those visits.

Antoinette Rochelle is listed as the daycare's owner, and her neighbors said she is a good woman who runs a good daycare.

They said they had not heard of any prior problems at the daycare.

Last summer, a mother in Indianapolis had her own warning for parents after her baby choked to death on a balloon.

Though it didn't happen at a daycare, it still served as a reminder about how common things can become deadly for small children.

"It was just so fast. I couldn't even get to him fast enough before the balloon was gone and he couldn't breathe anymore," said mom Katie Chamberlain, who was with her three other children as they filled up water balloons.

Doctors say balloons are one of the most deadly choking hazards for children.
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