Choking is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among children, especially those aged 3 years or younger. Food, coins, and toys are the primary causes of choking-related injury and death. Certain characteristics, including shape, size, and consistency, of certain toys and foods increase their potential to cause choking among children. — American Academy of Pediatrics
When our firstborn started to crawl and began to eat solids, I would get a sick feeling to my stomach thinking she would for sure choke on everything we’d feed her. After all, she barely even had any teeth to chew with. And while most of the coughing that took place during her younger years were all false alarms, there was one incident that really freaked us out. The culprit? Popcorn!
I’m sure we’re not the only parents that have experienced a choking incident but as a new mom, I had no idea which foods to avoid or take extra safety measures towards. So after having two kiddos, we’ve put together a list of our top 10 food items little ones choke on in hopes it will prevent future choking-related injuries.
1. Popcorn Kernel – This one is at the top of my list as we experienced a choking incident as mentioned but luckily Mia was able to dislodge and breathe. Sadly, though, thousands of other parents have not had the same ending.
For instance the Riley’s. They lost their 3-year-old son due to choking on a popcorn kernel at the movie theater. Read more here. And the Lawson family shared the dangers of popcorn after losing their 2-year-old daughter from choking on a kernel. And the list goes on and on. So it’s better to safe than sorry with this food item.
2. Whole Grapes – Usually a given but be sure to cut all grapes into small pieces (long ways not round). I like removing the skin as well.
3. Peanut Butter – If you know you’re little isn’t allergic to pb, make sure you give it to them spread out thinly on a safe to eat cracker or slice of bread. Peanut butter alone could get stuck in their throat easily.
4. Whole Cherry Tomatoes – Same as whole grapes
5. Hot Dogs & Sausages – Strongly suggest not giving your little ones a hot dog or sausage but if you’re in a pinch and it’s your only option, be sure to slice the sausage long ways and into small pieces. Round pieces of hot dog meat could get lodged in their throats and cause a choking incident.
7. Hard Candies – Need I say more? Definitely stay away from this one.
8. Raw Carrots or vegetables – Same as apples
9. Hard Meat – Pieces of meat or poultry that are too hard for little ones to chew easily can be a choking hazard as well. Be sure to cut into smaller pieces and check that the meat/poultry is not hard for them to chew.
10. Nuts – For those with kids that are not allergic to nuts, be sure to still take extra precaution as they too can get lodged into little ones’ airways.
So there you have it. Our top ten foods toddlers can choke on. I highly recommend keeping your kids completely away from them all until they are able to chew food completely and thoroughly without ingesting large chunks or kernels. Always keep a close watch when feeding your kids. And reach out to your child’s pediatrician to confirm when they recommend these foods are ok to give to your little ones.
Abrazos (Hugs) — Gladys