Choking Risks for Toddlers: How to Be Prepared
I will never forget that moment. Rarely does a doctor, or anyone else, get to do something so dramatic that saves a life. This boy was a little older than a toddler, but not old enough to know not to put a coin into his mouth. This could happen to anyone’s child.
Do not use a lot of peanut butter when preparing food for toddlers, and give children plenty of fluids to help wash food down.
Toddlers, in particular, enjoy putting things into their mouths. This means that toddlers can choke on small objects – usually food – but also toys, coins, and even balloons.
Of accidental deaths (also called unintentional deaths) in children less than five years old, choking is the fourth most common cause. Not all choking is fatal, and not all children who choke get medical care. The information on choking usually comes from instances where a child was affected enough to visit to a doctor’s office or emergency room.
It is estimated that more than 10,000 children are seen in emergency departments every year for choking because of food; however, there are many more who choke on other things.
Prevention of Choking
Prevention of choking in toddlers means trying to keep them from getting their hands on food, household objects, and toys that are the size and shape that can choke them. Anything that is round in shape and similar in size to the child’s windpipe can enter and get stuck there. The size of a toddler’s windpipe can be compared to that of a drinking straw. Clearly, there is not a lot of room there.
Common foods that cause choking include, but are not limited to:
- Hot dog pieces (especially round)
- Pieces of cut-up vegetables, like carrots
- Grapes, cherries
- Peanuts, nuts, seeds
- Smaller candies, like jelly beans and M & M’s
- Cubes of cheese, cubes of ice
Very sticky food, like peanut butter, can actually choke a child too. Do not use a lot of peanut butter when preparing food for toddlers, and give children plenty of fluids to help wash food down.