Little ones often explore new discoveries by immediately popping them into their mouths.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children in every age group can be at risk for a choking accident. For example, around 17,500 children in the United States ages 14 and younger are taken to the emergency room each year for choking episodes. Because of their exploratory nature and limited ability to chew certain foods, toddlers are at an increased risk for choking.
*Keep small objects out of reach. Any item can pose a choking threat, coins, buttons and other small objects
*When in doubt, dice it up. Remember to cut all foods into tiny bites before serving.
*Make kids sit down. Make sure your child sits while eating meals, as well as snacks or treats such as candy or lollipops.
*Properly prepare fruits and vegetables. To prevent little ones from choking on raw fruits or vegetables, consider cooking them until soft or even mashing them up before serving them. Grapes, peanuts and popcorn are some of the most common foods that cause choking in children younger than 2 years old. Cut the grapes up and do not give peanuts and popcorn to young children.
If a Choking Accident Occurs
It’s important to know what to do in the case of an accident. Remember that a child whose airway is fully blocked won’t be able to speak or cough. If your child is coughing or gagging, his or her airway isn’t fully blocked. Encourage him or her to cough.
However, if your child cannot clear his or her airway by coughing or can’t speak or cough, call 911. Ask your pediatrician to show you appropriate methods to assist your toddler in clearing his or her airway in case of a choking accident.