According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), one child dies every five days from choking on food, making it the leading cause of death in children ages 14 and under. The AAP is calling for the food industry to change the design and labels of foods that pose a choking risk to young children. Read on to discover the biggest choking hazards, and find ways to make them a little safer for your child. Looking for more tips? Watch this video from Cloudmom for great finger food ideas, choking hazards for babies, and more.
Hot dogs are one of the most common foods that children choke on. To minimize risk, cut them lengthwise and then chop them up into very small, irregular shapes.
To make carrots a little safer, finely shred them, or cook them until they are a mushy consistency throughout.
Apples, along with other firm fruits, should be chopped into very small, manageable pieces, or cooked until mushy throughout.
Grapes should always be cut in half before you give them to your young child. If the grapes have seeds, make sure to remove them as well.
The size and shape of nuts make them very dangerous for young children to consume whole, and should be avoided.
A large dollop of peanut butter can be hard for kids to swallow all at once. The safest way to eat it is to spread a thin layer on crackers or bread. It's also a good idea to serve it with something to drink. (Peanuts and peanut butter also pose an allergy risk. Be sure that it's safe for your child to eat before serving.)
Soft foods like this can easily get lodged in your little one's throat. It's best to avoid giving marshmallows to young children.
Gum and Hard Candy
It is best to avoid giving young children any gum or hard candy. Children can inhale the candy or gum if they laugh, take a deep breath, or try to swallow it whole.
The size and shape of popcorn make it a very easy food to choke on. It is best to avoid giving it to young children.