This is now going to be required reading in my house. The American Academy of Pediatrics published an updated policy statement in 2010 that addressed choking prevention.
Top 15 Choking Hazards
- Toy parts
- Latex balloons
- Hot dogs
- Hard candy
- Whole grapes
- Raw carrots
- Chunks of peanut butter
- Chewing gum
Why are these items the most hazardous?
Size (coin, grapes)
Shape (grapes, hot dogs)
Texture (popcorn, peanut butter)
Can form an airtight seal (latex ballons, chewing gum, hot dogs, peanut butter)
Things You May Have Thought, Or Heard Other People Say
I’ve given my child these things before and never had a problem.
You’ve been lucky. But that’s no indication that they won’t choke in the future. It only takes one time.
My child chews everything just fine.
Per the AAP policy statement, “Before the molars erupt, children are able to bite off a piece of food with their incisors but are unable to grind it adequately in preparation for swallowing. Children 3 to 4 years old have molars but are still learning to chew effectively. Children at this age also may be easily distracted when they need to pay full attention to the task of eating.
Seeds are so small, how can that cause choking?
A child’s airway is much smaller than an adults. Think of a small hose and a large hose. Both have the same size rock partially blocking the water flow. The small hose has a lot less room for water to escape around the rock than the large hose does! The same is true for a small airway.
The other concern with smaller items is aspiration, or the inhalation of a foreign body into the lungs. This can cause severe respiratory problems including infection.
#1 Cause of Choking Related Deaths
Non-food: Latex balloons