Reducing Choking Risks: Tips for Early Education and Child Care Settings
High risk foods and food characteristics:
- Hard candy
- Whole grapes
- Raw carrots
- Hot dogs
- Chunks of peanut butter
- Chewing gum
- Foods that are round and could conform to a child’s airway
Since 60% of non-fatal choking incidents result from food, let’s examine some ways to reduce the risk of choking while children are eating.
Reducing Food Choking Risks
- Children should be seated when eating — Ensure that children do not eat when standing, walking, running, playing, lying down, or riding in vehicles.
- Children should not be allowed to continue to feed themselves or continue to be assisted with feeding themselves if they begin to fall asleep.
- Active supervision is a must—
- Watch children for “squirreling” of several pieces of food in their mouth. This increases the risk of choking.
- Remember a choking child may not make any noise, so adults must keep their eyes on children who are eating.
- Children at this age require increased supervision when eating because they are easily distracted and
- may not pay full attention to the task of eating.
- Food should not be used for children’s games that involve catching the food item in the mouth or
- stuffing large numbers or amounts of food in the mouth.
- Cut foods such as grapes and other fruits, meat, cheese, and raw vegetables into small pieces and
- shapes that will not block the airways. Cut hot dogs lengthwise and well as widthwise.
- Cook vegetables so they become softer and easier to swallow
- Give only small amounts of peanut butter or other similar foods to prevent them for blocking the
- child’s airway.
- Offer plenty of liquids to children when eating, but make sure liquids and solids are not swallowed at
- the same time.
- Remember, foods do not contain warning labels about possible choking hazards.