choking-hazards

Top things children are likely to choke on, and how to minimise the danger

These are the most common causes of choking in youngsters

Emmy Griffiths

Since a child's airway is very small (around the size of a little finger), they are more likely to choke on food. For starters, small snacks can easily get lodged in a child's throat if you're not careful, particularly harder food like popcorn and nuts. Also, because the snacks are very small and can be eaten by the handful, children are more likely to munch down too much at once, so make sure your child is always supervised when eating these sorts of snacks.

Read more to find out other snacks and even non-foods are considered to be a choking hazard, and how to minimise the danger…

Hot dogs

Hot dogs are surprisingly one of the most dangerous choking hazards for children, as they are the right size and consistency to block a young person's airway. To deal with this risk, it's important to slice up or even mince a hot dog before giving them to youngsters, and shouldn't be given to children under the age of four.

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Hot dogs can be a choking hazard

Whole grapes

Whole grapes can get stuck in the airway, so it is important to slice them up before serving to your youngster, particularly since tiny children will still be learning how to chew and swallow food properly, making grapes particularly risky.

Raw carrots

According to a 2008 study, carrots are among the highest choking hazards for young children. The lead author of the American Academy of Pediatrics' policy statement on food hazard, Dr. Gary Smith, told the New York Times that raw carrots shouldn't be given to children under four.

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Carrots are a choking hazard

Latex balloons

Party balloons are one of the leading choking hazards among children. Dr. Heather Paul, the executive director of the National Safe Kids Campaign, told the New York Times: "'Although foods like hot dogs, peanuts and grapes are the number one cause of choking deaths to children, balloons are number two." Latex is particularly dangerous as it will conform to the throat, making it difficult to remove. While it is suggested to keep latex balloons away from young children, should a child choke on latex it is recommended that you immediately call 999 or take them to A&E. 

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Apples are a common choking hazard 

Other hazards to look out for

Hard sweets can easily be swallowed whole, and are the right size to be a threat to children. It's important to only serve peanut butter while spread thinly on bread or crackers, as a spoonful of peanut butter can block the windpipe. Coins also commonly cause choking, and so it is important to keep them out of reach of children. Small toys also are a choking hazard, and older siblings should keep their smaller toys out of reach and off the floor. Apples are also a high choking hazard, so make sure you prepare them properly by cooking them until they're soft or cutting into sizes small enough to swallow.

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