The child struggled to breathe after eating a piece of sausage at the store in Porta di Roma, while his mother screamed for help, Il Messaggero reported.
Other shoppers and first aid staff from Ikea rushed to help as they waited 40 minutes for an ambulance to arrive, the newspaper said. Ikea’s management said in a statement that a call was also put out through the speaker system for any doctors who might have been in the store.
A person who tried to help described the scene on Thursday afternoon as “dramatic”.
"All the staff at Ikea was in tears. But nobody knew what to do," the person was quoted by the newspaper as saying.
Ambulance staff tried to clear the child’s airways before taking him to Rome's Gemelli hospital, where doctors say he is in “mortal danger”.
Ikea Italia said in a statement that the store did everything it could to save the child.
“A first aid team, who have practised the removal of obstructions, immediately intervened. At the first sign of suffocation, the duty manager immediately called 118 and a message for doctors was put out through the speaker system.”
The incident comes eight months after a three year old boy died after choking on a meatball at an Ikea store in the southern Italian city of Bari.