When it comes to the food we feed our families every day, are you aware of the most common dangers? It’s a scary thing to consider, but the HSE has warned on the top 10 choking hazards for kids.
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It’s something that happens so easily, often without any warning and can leave everyone shaken up. As your little one splutters and coughs, it can cause them (and you) to panic and really escalate the situation in seconds. But knowing which foods are more likely choking hazards for kids is a really important first step – as is knowing how to mitigate the risks and make snacks and mealtimes safer.
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What are the Top Food Hazards?
Choking hazards for kids are mainly food items, particularly the top 10 foods identified by the HSE:
- Hot dogs/sausages
- Raw carrot
- Grapes (and similar shaped fruit and vegetables, e.g., cherry tomatoes, soft fruits)
- Peanut butter
- Chewing gum
- Boiled sweets
What Other Choking Hazards Are There?
Young children and babies regularly put items in their mouths that aren’t meant to be there. Small items they find around the house can then become a choking hazard that parents need to watch out for.
These items can include flat ‘button’ batteries, coins, small jewellery items, magnets, small toys or toy parts, marbles, beads, balloons, and elastic bands (especially loom bands).
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How Can You Reduce the Chances of Choking?
Supervision is the first, and most crucial, way that you can reduce choking incidents. Keep any of the items listed above out of reach of small children, and take great care with the food hazards.
#2. Think About Size
When preparing food, follow the safety advice for young children – for example, make sure food is cut into small bite-size pieces. Grapes, in particular, are a real choking hazard due to their shape, which is the perfect size for getting stuck in a child’s airway. The recommendation is that you slice grapes in half or quarters lengthways (not widthways) to reduce the danger of choking.
#3. Eat Together
Don’t leave your child alone at meal or snack times. Take the time sitting at the table to chat to your child, and ensure your child sits still at the table. Jumping around, running, and getting distracted can increase the risk of choking.
For more advice on choking hazards for kids, safety tips and reducing the risks, visit the HSE website where you can also discover what to do in the event of a choking incident.
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Were you aware of these choking hazards for kids? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!