According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), choking is the leading cause of death in children. 1 child dies every 5 days from choking and there are more than 12,000 emergency room visits per year due to choking from food. The kids at greatest risk for choking from food? Those under 5 years old! Food safety is extremely important with toddlers and preschoolers.
Cut potentially dangerous food into quarters.
My son is two years old and I still cut his grapes into quarters and have no plans of stopping anytime soon. I do the same with his turkey hot dogs. It's important to cut the food into quarters rather than in half, so that in the event your child doesn't chew before swallowing, the food will be able to make it's way down her throat. Remember, they are still learning to chew their food and often times don't actually do it!
Don't let your little one walk around eating.
If your little one walks around eating, it's likely that he will not be within your line of sight. It also means that your child may eat lying down or in another non-upright position, which can increase the chances of choking.
Wait for snacks until you are out of the car.
Choking can happen in an instant. If your child should choke while in the car, you may not have enough time to help him. Or worse, you may not even know it. I know it's tempting to eat on the go, but it is best to wait until you have arrived at your destination to feed your child any snacks or meals.
Exercise extreme caution or hold off on feeding your child some of these potentially dangerous foods.
I've already mentioned hot dogs and grapes. But below is a list foods that can be a choking hazard for young children. Personally, the majority of these are no-no's in my house and the others I am very cautious with the size, making sure I supervise my son closely.
- Raw vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Chunks of meat or cheese
- String cheese
- Hard, or sticky candy
- Peanut Butter in large servings. (Spread a thin layer or put a very small amount for "dipping")