November 6, 2015


From the time your child starts picking things up with her fingers until the age of 4 or 5, you'll need to be vigilant about choking hazards.
Children under 4 are the most likely to choke on something. This is partly because they tend to explore their world by putting things in their mouth. It's also because they're still learning how to chew and swallow food. Babies as young as 6 or 7 months can bite off a piece of food with their new front teeth. But they won't be able to chew it well until all their molars come in and they've had lots of practice with them, usually by the time they turn 4.
Unchewed bits of food can block the airway or be inhaled into the lungs.
Here are some ways you can prevent these chocking hazards from happening to your child:
Pay attention: 

Supervise young children whenever they're eating or drinking. (Kids typically can't make any noise to alert you that they're choking.) That means not letting your child eat in the car while you're driving.
Keep them seated: 
Make sure your child sits while eating. Don't let kids eat while lying down, walking, climbing, or running. 
Mash, cut up, and spread: 
Mash or grind food so it's soft enough for your baby to gum or chew. At the finger-food stage, cut fruit, veggies, meat, and cheese into pea-size pieces. Dollops of peanut butter and other nut butters are also a choking hazard. Spread nut butter thinly on bread or crackers.
Choose snacks wisely: 
Don't give kids popcorn, nuts, seeds, whole grapes, hard candy, gummy candy, gum balls, or marshmallows until they're at least 4. (Seeds may be too small to choke on but can get stuck in a child’s airway and cause an infection. See more guidelines for safe finger foods.)
Beware of teething medication: 
Don't feed your child soon after using a rub-on teething medication because it can numb the throat and interfere with swallowing.
Avoid small objects: 
Don't let young children play with buttons, coins, safety pins, balloons, small rocks, or anything with parts smaller than 1¼ inches around or 2¼ inches long. You can buy a "small objects choke tester" (search online to find one) to help you evaluate the safety of an object. If it fits entirely into the plastic cylinder, it's a choking hazard.
Move the mobile: 
Make sure your child can't reach a hanging mobile.
Keep baby powder away: 
Don't allow kids to play with baby powder containers. The powder can shake free and clog your child's throat.