Heartbroken dad whose baby choked to death urges parents: 'Don’t wish away the time'

Photo: Casey Zager / Instagram
Photo: Casey Zager / Instagram 

US toddler Hank Zager had celebrated his first birthday just three weeks ago when he tragically choked to death on his food. Despite being rushed to hospital and receiving immediate medical attention, unfortunately the little boy didn't make it.  

Both his parents, Casey and Ashton, shared heart-wrenching posts on social media in the days after his death, prompting an outpouring of grief and sympathy for the family. 

Hank's devastated father Casey took to Instagram to beg parents not to sweat the small stuff.

Casey Zager with sons Louie and baby Hank.
Casey Zager with sons Louie and baby Hank. Photo: Casey Zager / Instagram

It's a difficult read and the video of Hank's first birthday celebration is heartbreaking to watch, but Casey's words will strike a chord with every loving parent.

He begins, "Hank turned one 3 weeks ago. He passed away last night. At first, we thought he choked on a muffin, but the medical examiner discovered a bean was blocking his airway. Apparently, it just went down the 'wrong pipe.'"

He then explains what they went through to try to save their tiny son. At first things looked promising for Hank.

"We tried the Heimlich Manouevre, which was covered in my cpr certification. We called 911 and he was in the ambulance headed to the hospital within 7 minutes or so of the initial choking. He was breathing and conscious entering the ambulance. He was breathing and conscious when he arrived at the hospital. Medical staff felt confident they could fix things."


A post shared by Casey Zager (@caseyzager) on

Then things "took a turn for the worse."


"... they put him on medication to relax him in order to get breathing instrument down his throat. They fought so hard for 2 hours to keep Hank breathing and his heart beating, but we lost..."

Hank's heart had given in. His mother Ashton posted on facebook that "...they performed compressions for nearly an hour before they called us back in to tell us we could hold his hand while they performed compressions for 2 more minutes."

She "...sang to him during that time. Cried to him. Yelled at him that his story was not over. That he wasn't ever supposed to happen so it didn't make sense this would be the end of his story."

Dad Casey thanked the medical staff who valiantly tried to save Hank, before sharing the profound knowledge he gained from the tragic death of his baby boy.

"Put first things first. Worry about stuff that matters... Be with people. Be real and vulnerable. Don't argue over insignificant things. Let things go if you can. Stop getting annoyed by little things. Put your phone down. Look people in the eye. Don't wish away the time."

It's a reminder for all of us that life is fleeting and precious, and to connect more with those we love.