7 Foods Toddlers Choke On & How to Make Them Safe

7 Foods Toddlers Choke On & How to Make Them Safe

chokingA 2-year-old, thankfully, was resuscitated after he choked on a grape on Friday. Paramedics arrived on the scene a minute and a half after the incident, and after performing CPR and using a vacuum procedure to remove the grape, the boy was announced to be in stable condition. Thank goodness. The thought of a child turning "a shade of light blue" is enough to send shivers down any parent's spine. And also, it's a really, really important reminder.

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In addition to knowing infant and child CPR and brushing up on your skills regularly (I keep my booklet in my daughter's diaper drawer and glance over it every few months), it's important to know which foods are considered choking hazards for young children. You may think your child has fully grasped the concept of chewing and swallowing all foods, but it only takes one time for things to go irreversibly wrong. Terrifying fact alert: Choking is one of the top five causes of death in children under the age of five. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, one child dies every five days from choking on food. That's far too high a number.

Here's a list of foods that are considered choking hazards to toddlers and how to make said foods safer. Don't become a statistic.

Image via Wavebreak Media LTD/Wavebreak Media Ltd./Corbis

  • 7 Choking Hazards to Avoid


    Image via Wavebreak Media LTD/Wavebreak Media Ltd./Corbis


  • Round Slices of Hot Dogs & Sausages



    When cut into nickel-shaped slices, hot dogs and sausages can be a choking hazard to children. The best way to make these foods safer is to cut them length-wise, as it's much harder for pieces to get lodged in the throat that way.

  • Carrot Sticks & Baby Carrots



    Carrots, as well as other large pieces of raw fruit and veggies, can pose a choking risk to toddlers, as the hard pieces that are bit off can get easily stuck in the child's throat. Either cut into pieces no larger than 1/2 inch, or cook the veggies, so they're softer.

  • Peanut Butter



    Globs of peanut butter can get stuck in a preschooler's throat easier than one would think. Once you know that your child isn't allergic to peanuts, make sure you spread peanut butter well on crackers or bread, avoiding big lumps.

  • Cherry Tomatoes



    As the above incident demonstrates, children can very easily choke on grapes. But another food similar in shape and size is cherry tomatoes. Be sure to slice both cherry tomatoes and grapes in half before giving to your toddler.

  • Tough Meat



    Your baby may love steak just as much as his daddy, but it's important to cut meat and chicken across the grain into small pieces before serving to your little one.


  • Popcorn



    It's probably best to hold off on giving your child popcorn, but if he's going to have it, break the pieces up into even smaller pieces. Also, don't let him run around while eating -- ever. Teach him to sit down at a table and chew.

  • Gum


    Toddlers really shouldn't be chewing gum -- ever. It's a huge choking hazard, so best to err on the side of caution and just avoid it.



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