Choking Prevention

Back to Safety Tips Page

Among children treated in emergency rooms for non-fatal choking incidents, almost 60 percent were food-related. Overall, 13 percent of cases involved swallowing coins and 19 percent involved candy or gum. There are simple tips that can help keep your children from getting injured as a result of choking.

  • Cut food for toddlers into tiny pieces. Children under 5 should not eat small, round or hard foods, including pieces of hot dogs, cheese sticks or chunks, hard candy, nuts, grapes, marshmallows or popcorn.
  • Consider your child’s age when purchasing a toy or game. It’s worth a second to read the instructions and warning labels to make sure it’s just right for your child.
  • Before you’ve settled on the perfect toy, check to make sure there aren’t any small parts or other potential choking hazards.
  • Keep small magnets away from children. These include magnets found in construction sets, children’s toys or stress-relieving adult desk toys; refrigerator magnets; and rare earth magnets such as Buckyballs.
  • Keep cords and strings, including those attached to window blinds, out of your child’s reach. For your crawlers and climbers, move chairs, cribs and other furniture away from windows to help prevent window falls. Just make a few moves now and you don’t have to worry about it later.