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What foods should young children avoid to prevent choking?

Nina L. Shapiro, MD
Ear, Nose & Throat (Otolaryngology)
Some foods that young children should avoid to prevent choking include: hot dogs, nuts and seeds, chunks of meat or cheese, whole grapes, hard or sticky candy, lollipops, dried fruit, popcorn, chunks of peanut butter, chunks of raw vegetables and chewing gum. These foods can put a child under the age of 5 at a high risk for choking.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends young children:
  • Not eat smooth foods such as raw vegetables (which they may not be able to chew or grind with their teeth) or peanuts until they are 7 or older.
  • Not eat round, firm foods such as hot dogs and carrot sticks unless they are chopped into small pieces no larger than ½ inch
  • Avoid hard, gooey or sticky candy; grapes; popcorn; chewing gum; and vitamins.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.