Choking can occur at any age, especially in children under the age of four. Children under the age of 4 are easily distracted and have difficulty concentrating on more than one thing at a time. Babies learning to eat are at highest risk, because they often put anything that fits in their hands in their mouth. Some are so enthusiastic about their favorite foods that they may put more than they can chew in one mouthful. Your child’s airway is approximately the size of his/her pinky. Choking is silent and takes approximately 60 seconds for a child/ infant to choke. Choking and food can be reduced significantly with a few safety measures.
To minimize the risk of choking :
Always have your child sit down at the table and eat without any distractions i.e. Television
Always sit with your child/children while they are eating
Avoid serving foods that are round, hard, and can easily get lodged into their airway
Put only a few pieces of food on his/her plate at a time
Teach your child to take small bites and make sure food has been thoroughly chewed
Make sure all caregivers are aware of the signs of choking , what to do, and choking hazards.
Top choking hazard foods:
1). Whole grapes- whole grapes can easily get lodged into your little ones mouth. To reduce the risk slice them length wise and in quarters.
2). Apples- chunks of apples can easily get lodge in tiny airways instead cut into match stick size for smaller children and for older kids slice them length wise with the peel on to encourage chewing.
3). Hot dogs- if you serve your children hot dogs avoid cutting them into rounds instead cut them length wise without the bun or have them eat the bun separately. An American study found kids were more likely to choke on a hot dog than any other food.
4). Raw carrots- mini raw carrots seem like the perfect convenient snack or lunch box vegetable but its perfect round size makes it a high choking food. Instead carrots for young children should be cooked and chopped into small pieces. For older kids its fie to serve them raw but slice them length wise instead.
5). Popcorn- again its small round size makes it a high choking food. If your going to serve older children popcorn always sit with them.
6). Hard candies – Children under the age of four should not have any hard candy, especially hard round candy that easily again easily get lodged in their airways.
7). Peanut butter – peanut butter can easily seal off your child’s airway. For babies mix smooth peanut butter with cereal or spread lightly on toast.
8). Nuts and seeds- nuts and seeds again are the perfect size for getting into little one’s airway, avoid giving them to young babies.
9). Grape tomatoes – similar to grapes , grape tomatoes are the perfectly round and can get lodged into your child’s airway. Instead. Slice them lengthwise and if they are still large slice them in quarters.
Most high risk foods have a common are the perfect size for small airways. Remember to always have your child sit down while eating and always supervise your child.