Originally posted here.
Putting things in their mouths is one of the ways that babies and small children explore their worlds. Choking is usually caused by food, toys, and other small objects that can easily lodge in a child’s small airway — anything that fits can be a danger.
Pay special attention to the following to protect your kids from choking:
- Encourage kids to sit when eating and to chew thoroughly. Teach them to chew and swallow their food before talking or laughing.
- Be especially vigilant during adult parties, when nuts and other foods might be easily accessible to small hands. Clean up promptly and carefully, and check the floor for dropped foods that can cause choking.
- Never let kids run, play sports, or ride in the car with gum, candy, or lollipops in their mouths.
- Be sure to read all manufacturers’ food labels carefully to determine choking risks.
- Don’t give kids younger than 4 years old any hard, smooth foods that can partially or completely block the windpipe, such as:
- nuts of any type
- sunflower seeds
- watermelon with seeds
- cherries with pits
- raw carrots, peas, and celery
- hard candy
- raw apples and pears
- Some soft foods also can cause choking and should be avoided:
- cheese cubes
- hot dogs
These soft foods, except caramels, can be served if they’re chopped into small pieces or peeled if they have skin. Spoonfuls of peanut butter and chewing gum also should be regarded as potential choking hazards.