Choking Prevention and First Aid

As your child begins to eat table foods you should become aware of the choking risks that food presents. Making yourself aware of which foods and items cause the most problems with choking, is your best way to help prevent choking.

Dangerous foods

Children younger than four should not be given any kind of round, firm foods unless you have completely chopped it up. The following foods are frequently associated with choking and you should be extra careful when feeding them to your child.

  • Chunks of meat or cheese
  • Hard or sticky candy
  • Hot dogs
  • Nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Raw carrots
  • Whole grapes

Other hazards

In addition to food, other items in your home should be considered choking hazards for your infant or young child. These items include:

  • Coins
  • Latex balloons
  • Marbles
  • Pen or marker caps
  • Small button-type batteries
  • Small toy parts

How to prevent choking

Try these rules of thumb to prevent choking in your home:

  • Always have your child sit at the table while eating. Don’t let them run, walk or play with food in their mouth.
  • Avoid giving your child any toys that have small parts.
  • Children under four should not be given the foods mentioned above. For nuts you should wait until the child is seven or older.
  • Cut food for infants and young children. Don’t forget to remind them how important it is to chew their food before swallowing.
  • Keep all household items containing small parts out of the reach of infants and small children.
  • When infants and young children are eating there should always be an adult watching.

Below is a diagram provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics which details what to do when an infant or small child is choking:



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