Choking 101: How to Prevent Choking in Children

How to minimise and prevent choking in children

Coming into Easter time there is a very dangerous choking hazard we all love to eat…. and it is not a hot cross bun...

Choking would have to be one of the scariest things to witness in our little babes. Starting solids can be very anxiety provoking due to the risk of choking however, these little babes are not the only ones at risk. From as early as two months babies can start putting things in their mouth that are around them.

So what can cause our children to choke? Check out the information below to find out.

Common foods that are a choking risk:

- Lollies
- Marshmallows
- Raw apple and carrot
- Popcorn
- Pieces of meat
- Whole nuts
- Fish with bones
- Uncooked peas
- Certain berries
- Seeds, lentils and beans
- Grapes
- Cherry tomatoes
- Fruit pips and stones
- Sausages

Coming into Easter, we all love a little chocolate treat, however the solid little easter eggs can be deadly to our little ones airways. They are the perfect size to fit snugly into their airway, completely stopping air from getting in. An alternative to the little eggs is to buy the bigger eggs and break them up. Your children get to enjoy a little sweat treat, and you get to relax knowing it is much safer than giving them small eggs.

Ways to prevent your child from choking while eating

- Ensure your child is sitting while they are eating

- Encourage your child to chew food well

- Keep food pieces small. This applies to younger children who are still learning to master the art of eating

- Cook, grate or mash hard foods

- Avoid whole nuts, and similar hard foods in children under 3.

- Avoid giving a baby a bottle in bed.

- Avoid feeding children in the car. It is difficult to supervise them and remember choking is silent.

Food is not the only thing children can choke on.

Check out the list below of 5 common choking hazards around the house.

1) Small objects including coins, magnets, batteries, buttons, the top of ballpoint pens, polystyrene balls and marbles.

2) Toys and play items. Avoid toys that have small parts. If you have older children around the house ensure they keep their small toys away from little hands. Do not attach cords, string or ribbons to dummies to also prevent strangulation, and make sure mobiles are out of reach.

Did you know that if a toy states ‘ not suitable for under 3’ this means that it is a choking hazard, it is not relating to the child intellect or ability to work the toy.

3) Do not allow young children to play with balloons unsupervised as if they pop it is a choking hazard

4) Curtains and blind cords with small parts. If you have cords attach them to the wall and ensure they are out of reach of children. Children can get caught in loose curtain cords and pose a strangulation risk also. Keep cots away from cords.

5) Garden objects. Supervise small children when outside. Small pebbles, tanbark and snails pose choking risks.

As a rule of thumb anything smaller than the size of a 20 cent coin can cause an airway blockage and be a choking risk to children. If you cannot modify it- don’t let them have it.

If you would like to learn more about choking and first aid regarding choking please book in to one of our courses.

We wish you all a very happy and safe easter.

choking hazards

Written in June 2022 by Laura, a Paediatric Emergency Nurse and mum of two little loves. As always, information on this website is for educational purposes only.

Please consult your GP for information specific to your child.


RCH choking and strangulation parent KHI
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