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Choking Hazards In Infants And Toddlers

Choking is the leading cause of injuries among young children and infants.  One child in the US dies from choking every five days, and 75% of deaths occur in children under three. Let’s look at common choking hazards in infants and toddlers and what parents can do to prevent it from happening.

Food Hazards

Young children are just beginning to learn how to eat, so parental supervision is critical. Anything that blocks their airway makes it hard to breathe.

The following are tips for parents to avoid food choking hazards:

  • Watch out particularly for grapes, hot dogs, hard sticky candy, popcorn, nuts and seeds, raisins, peanut butter, marshmallows, raisins, and raw veggies.
  • Cut your child’s food into very small pieces no larger than one half inch
  • Keep your child sitting while they eat. Walking and eating is a no-no.
  • Never give your children food in the car.

Always watch carefully as your child eats. Choking is silent and you won’t hear them. If they get something stuck in their little throats and you don’t notice, it only takes four minutes for them to develop brain damage or worse.

The CDC recommends every new parent learn CPR and the Heimlich maneuver for children in case of an emergency.

baby on floor putting foreign object in her mouth

Toys And Household Item Hazards

Young ones are inquisitive, and for some reason like to put anything and everything in their mouth. As they begin to crawl and move around, there are any number of hazardous items they can discover.

It may sound silly, but pretend you are a toddler. Get down on your hand and knees and see your home from that perspective. Paper clips, tacks, and other small items that may have been dropped are all choking hazards. Do this exercise frequently!

Check under furniture and between cushions for anything small enough to fit into your child’s mouth. Especially be wary of coins, marbles, toys with small parts that can become loose, pen or marker caps, plastic water bottle caps, button batteries, hair barrettes, rubber bands, and latex balloons. Latex balloons can break, and small pieces become a major choking hazard.

Pay close attention to toy packages and the recommended ages.

Teach older siblings to keep their toys in a safe place where little brother or sister can’t get to them, especially small balls and other items they can fit into their mouth.

Handling A Choking Incident

Administering rapid first aid for choking can save your child’s life. Call 911 and do CPR.  Parents are encouraged to enroll in a Basic Life Support class offered by the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association to learn more about choking prevention procedures and CPR for infants and children.

Contact Davidson Family Medicine to help you better understand the steps of CPR and identify additional dangerous foods and objects.

For further questions or to schedule an appointment, please call (704) 892-5454 or request an appointment online.

Flu shots are here!

In addition to the regular flu vaccine, we also have the extra protective flu vaccine recommended for those 65 and over.

Davidson Family Medicine will file your insurance.

To get your flu vaccine administered by trained medical staff that you know and trust, call in at 704-892-5454.

Stay healthy this flu season and get your flu vaccine.


Please join us in welcoming Dr. Sam Hughes to our practice! Dr. Hughes is a Davidson College graduate and earned his medical degree from Wake Forest School of Medicine, where he also completed his residency.

He enjoys the diversity of family medicine, particularly working with all ages and focusing on preventive care. Sam’s favorite activities include hiking, biking, and spending time with his wife and yellow lab.

Visit our website, davidsonfamilymedicine.com or call (704) 892-5454 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Hughes.

Sam Hughes, MD