Young children are naturally curious about their surroundings. Part of this behavior involves putting food and other objects in their mouths. These objects can stick in their windpipe and make it impossible to breathe.


What you should do

Monitor mealtime : Children before the age of 4 aren’t able to grind food into small pieces.  You should protect your child by making  a safe eating environment  and avoid eating certain foods until the age of 4.

During meals :

  • Supervise your child.
  • Sit the child upright in a high chair.
  •  Discourage eating and talking at the same time.
  • Don’t allow your child to run with food in his / her mouth .
  • Cut your child’s food into smaller pieces until his / her molars come in.

Don’t allow your child younger than 4 to have these  foods.

  • Nuts and seeds.
  • Hot dogs
  • Chunks of meat or cheese
  • Chunks of peanut butter
  • Whole grapes
  • Hard, gooey or sticky candy
  • Popcorn, pretzel, potato chips similar snack foods
  • Raisins
  • Raw vegetables especially hard ones
  • Chewing gum

Keep small objects out of the reach of children. These include the following :

  • Coins
  • Uninflated or broken balloons
  • Tiny balls
  • Pen caps
  • Button type batteries
  • Pins

Choking emergencies

Choking can happen even if you’re careful. If your child has a forceful cough, is crying or vocal, let the child remove the object him or herself. However if the child cant make a sound, have someone call 911 and do abdominal thrusts. Once the food or object comes out, take the child to see the pediatrician. A piece of the object may be remaining in the lungs . The health care provider can tell if the child is okay or not.



Content Sources
Tips to lower toddlers’ choking risk. Stanford Children’s Hospital. Accessed October 30th, 2019

Preventing Childhood Choking. Safe Kids Worldwide. Accessed October 30th, 2019

How to reduce choking hazards. Children’s National. Accessed October 30th, 2019

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