Choking Hazards with Young Children

Did you know that choking is the fourth leading cause of death in children under five years of age? About every five days, a child somewhere in the United States dies from choking on food. Studies indicate that the four most often identified foods in choking are hot dogs, grapes, candy, and peanuts. Choking is preventable.

The following are suggestions that will help decrease the risk of small children choking:

  • Choose foods that are appropriate for a child’s age. Hard to chew foods like peanuts, popcorn, hard candy, etc. should be avoided. A child should have erupted their molars before being given these foods.

  • Always supervise children while they are eating.

  • Keep children seated when eating. Running or horseplay with food in the mouth should not be allowed.

  • Cut food in smaller pieces to make foods safer to eat. For example, cut hot dog rings should be cut lengthwise in narrow strips and then again to make small pieces. Cut grapes into halves or quarters.

  • Childproof your home for toothpicks, extra buttons, safety pins, screws, nails, or anything your young child might pick up and put in her mouth.

  • Be sure you know what to do in case your child has a choking emergency.

Early Head Start 
Nutrition News

October 2006

From your nutritionist, Ann