Putting things in their mouths is one of the ways that babies and young children explore their worlds. Choking is usually caused by food, toys, and other small objects that easily can get stuck in a child's windpipe.
By knowing the dangers, you can keep your kids safe and prevent choking.
Which Foods Are Choking Hazards?
Hard, smooth foods can block the windpipe. Don't give these to kids younger than 4 years old:
watermelon with seeds
cherries with pits
raw carrots, peas, and celery
raw apples and pears
These soft foods should be cut into small pieces, peeled if they have skin, or avoided:
hot dogs and sausages (cut into half-moon or triangle shapes, not rounds)
Avoid giving kids spoonfuls of peanut butter and chewing gum. These are sticky in the mouth and can get stuck in the throat.
How Can I Help My Child Avoid Choking on Food?
Encourage kids to sit when eating and to chew thoroughly.
Teach kids to chew and swallow their food before talking or laughing.
Be especially careful during parties when bowls of nuts or candies may be easy for kids to reach or may have fallen on the floor.
Don't let kids run, play sports, or ride in the car with gum, candy, or lollipops in their mouths.
Supervise older children, who might not know they shouldn't give some foods to younger kids.