How can I help prevent choking in my child?

  • Supervise mealtimes for young children.
  • Do not let children eat while playing or running.
  • Teach children to chew and swallow food before talking or laughing.
  • Do not give chewing gum to young children.
  • Do not give young children smooth, hard food such as peanuts and raw vegetables. 
  • Do not give young children round, firm foods such as hot dogs and carrot sticks unless chopped into pieces ½ inch or smaller. 
  • Do not allow small children to play with un-inflated balloons. (The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends keeping these away from children younger than 8 years of age.)
  • Keep small objects such as safety pins, small parts from toys and coins away from small children.
  • Make sure that toys are too large to be swallowed.
  • Make sure that toys have no small parts that could be pulled off.

Continue Learning about First Aid For Choking

How do I give abdominal thrusts to a child who is choking?
American Red CrossAmerican Red Cross
Stand or kneel behind the child and wrap your arms around his or her waist.  Locate the navel with ...
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Why are young children at high risk of choking on food?
Nina L. Shapiro, MDNina L. Shapiro, MD
Young children are at high risk of choking on food because the diameter of a young child’s airway is...
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What are the signs of choking?
 Dr. Kathleen Handal, MD Dr. Kathleen Handal, MD
The following are the signs of someone choking: Inability to speak, cough or breathe Very weak c...
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How can I test if a small object is a choking hazard for a child?
American Red CrossAmerican Red Cross
Try to pass it through a toilet-paper roll. If it fits, it is not safe for young children.
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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.