Reducing Choking Risks

Reducing Choking Risks: Tips for Early Education and Child Care Settings
High risk foods and food characteristics:

  • Hard candy
  • Peanuts/nuts
  • Seeds
  • Whole grapes
  • Raw carrots
  • Apples
  • Popcorn
  • Hot dogs
  • Chunks of peanut butter
  • Marshmallows
  • Chewing gum
  • Sausages
  • 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.