Child Choking Prevention

From the America Academy of Pediatrics comes a great warning for people feeding small children.

Keep foods such as grapes, hot dogs, raw carrots, or peanuts away from babies and young children. Cut food for babies and young children into pieces no larger than one-half inch. Encourage children to chew food well. Supervise meal times. Insist that children sit down while eating. Children should never run, walk, play, or lie down with food in their mouths. Be aware of older children’s actions. Many choking incidents are caused when an older child gives a dangerous toy or food to a younger child.
Also, make sure you can perform abdominal thrusts to expel food stuck in the airway. The procedure for small children is different (turn them over, head down and palm smack their lung area) than the technique used on adults (cliched fists beneath lungs and a sharp upward tug.)
  • Hot dogs
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Chunks of meat or cheese
  • Whole grapes
  • Hard or sticky candy
  • Popcorn – kids die from this
  • Chunks of peanut butter (it sticks to the roof of their mouth and also blocks the airway)
  • Chunks of raw vegetables
  • Chewing gum (Why give a kid gum? You’re just asking for trouble!)

Choking can be prevented.

Food accounts for over 50% of choking episodes. Be alert for small objects that can cause choking, such as coins, buttons, and small toys. Check under furniture and between cushions for small items that children could find and put in their mouths. Toys are designed to be used by children within a certain age range. Age guidelines take into account the safety of a toy based on any possible choking hazard. Don’t let young children play with toys designed for older children. Latex balloons are also a choking hazard. If a child bites a balloon and takes a breath, he could suck it into his airway.

Choking Hazard Items

Keep items that are choking hazards away from babies and young children. These include:

  • Coins
  • Buttons
  • Toys with small parts
  • Toys that can fit entirely in a child’s mouth
  • Small balls, marbles
  • Balloons
  • Small hair bows, barrettes, rubber bands
  • Pen or marker caps
  • Small button-type batteries
  • Refrigerator magnets
  • Pieces of dog food

More here.