Choking remains a leading cause of injury and mortality amongst children up to 5 years of age. In this two-part series, we’ll first examine some of the most common causes of choking in children and then explore some ways to reduce the risk of choking.

60% of non-fatal choking is due to food. For very young children who are just exploring solid foods, this is a particularly high-risk time. Cut foods to 1/2 inch or smaller and ensure that they are cut completely through before giving it to a child.

Children don’t master the ability to grind and chew until about the age of four. As a result, smooth, hard foods such as peanuts and hard candy should be avoided entirely until that time. Chewing gum and other stringy, sticky foods should be avoided as well as they may stick to a child’s throat.

Non-food items that can fit into a child’s mouth, such as coins, buttons, broken balloons, and small toys are also a hazard. Before giving a child a toy, pay close attention to the manufacturer’s recommendations for age as small pieces tend to go straight into the mouth. Any toy smaller than 1 3/4 inches can easily fit into the mouth but may get stuck in a child’s throat.




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