Choking Prevention In Young Children

Young children can choke on virtually any object. Tragically, children have died from choking on things such as small balls, tiny toys, balloons and plants. For this reason, it is important to be aware of how to prevent choking:

  • Hot dogs, nuts, peanuts, peanut butter, popcorn, carrots and grapes should not be given to children less than 4 years of age. In older children hot dogs should be sliced lengthwise first.
  • Children should eat or drink only when sitting upright, and not while lying down. Also children should not be forced to feed, especially when they are sleepy.
  • Children should never be allowed to eat or drink while playing or running around.
  • Young children should always be supervised by an adult during meals or snacks, and even playtime.
  • Toys your child plays with should be labeled appropriate for his or her age, and keep older children’s toys away from any young child.
  • If you have had visitors for a party or a dinner, remember to always immediately remove all foods, beverages or other objects potentially dangerous to a young child.
  • It is important that your child’s play and sleep areas are free of small objects.
  • Latex balloons are pretty and often tempting to give as a gift or use as a decoration; But they pose a great choking hazard. Young children should not be given nor be in contact with balloons at all.
  • Jewelry can easily be swallowed or inhaled. For this reason children should not wear any earrings, rings nor any other jewelry items before the age of 5.
  • Keep coins and other small objects such as buttons, toothpicks, paper clips, plants etc(and any other household or office item that can be a potential choking threat) away from young children at all times.
  • When visiting a friend’s or neighbor’s house or on vacation, make sure your child is not exposed to any choking hazards.
  • It is a good idea to learn to give first aid to a choking child just in case…but prevention in the first place is best.


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Pediatrician DR.PAUL Roumeliotis is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. The information provided above is designed to be an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace the advice and care of your child’s physician, nor is it intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. If you suspect that your child has a medical condition always consult a physician.