Choking Prevention for Infants and Children
When children begin eating table foods, parents must be aware of the dangers and risks of choking. Older infants and children under age four can easily choke on food and small objects.
Choking occurs when food or small objects block the airway. This prevents oxygen from getting to the lungs and the brain. When the brain goes without oxygen for more than four minutes, brain damage or even death may occur. Many children die from choking each year. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Heart Association (AHA) believe that parents and other caregivers can often prevent choking. The AAP and the AHA offer the following choking prevention information for parents and caregivers of infants and children.
Do not feed children younger than 4 years old any round, firm food unless it is chopped completely. Round, firm foods are common choking dangers. When infants and young children don't grind or chew their food well, they may attempt to swallow it whole. The following foods can be choking hazards:
Dangerous household items
Keep the following household items away from infants and children:
What you can do to prevent choking
Keep the above foods from children until 4 years of age. Nuts should not be given to children until age 7 or older.
Insist that children eat at the table, or at least while sitting down. They should never run, walk, or play with food in their mouths.
Cut food for infants and young children and teach them to chew their food well.
Supervise mealtime for infants and young children. Many choking incidents occur when older brothers or sisters give dangerous foods, toys, or small objects to a younger child.
Avoid toys with small parts and keep other small household items out of reach of infants and young children. Follow the age recommendations on toy packages.
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Material taken from the American Academy of Pediatrics.