Minimize Choking Hazards - Safe Food Tips

Choking hazards due to half chewed food is quite common in children below 4 years of age.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, hundreds of children (under 4 years of age) die each year from choking.

Once infants learn to crawl and with already developed pincer grasp, they often pick food articles like nuts, peas and grapes and put them in the mouth.

The chewing capacity under 4 years of age is not optimal to manoeuvre the rolling/slipping food piece in their mouth.

Toddlers and young children often swallow the food half chewed or even as a whole. If the food slips in to the wind pipe instead of the food pipe a baby can choke over it.

This is also important while feeding a toddler. At this age, it is best to give soft foods that are easily chewed in small morsels.

Children often stuff their mouth with food, which can also prove to be very dangerous.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has listed the food that could present potential choking hazard for children below 6 years age as follows:

1. Nuts - broken pieces or as a whole.

2. Popcorn, Chips and French-fries.

3. Hard candies, Chewing-gum and Marshmallows.

4. Whole grapes - best to give as juice or cut into small pieces.

5. Peas – best given as mashed.

6. Fish with bone and stringy meats attached to bone.

7. Chunks of meat like steaks and hot-dogs.

8. Vegetables, salads and fruits like carrots and apples.

9. Chunky pieces of foods those are difficult to chew.

10. Foods those are sticky, including peanut butter.

The Expert, Ren Chats, Adds -

What is choking?.

Choking is a true medical emergency that arises due to blockage of the upper airway. In about 60% of the cases it is due to aspiration of partially chewed food.

Small toys, coins and pieces of latex from burst balloons are the other common articles that impose choking risk to children

Blockage of the airway jeopardises child’s breathing, which if not attended to promptly and efficiently may lead to death.

Young children are more vulnerable to blockage of upper airway, because of the following two reasons.

1. Small diameter of wind pipe (trachea), so even partial obstruction severely compromises air exchange.

2. The force of cough is weak in infants and young children. Therefore they are unable to cough out the aspirated foreign body and the accumulated secretions.

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