Children under the age of 4 are at a high risk of choking while eating. Young children are still learning how to chew food properly, and they often swallow the food whole. Their small airways can become easily blocked. You can help reduce children’s risk of choking when eating by preparing food in certain ways, such as cutting food into small pieces and cooking hard food, like carrots, until it is soft enough to pierce with a fork. Remember, always supervise children during meals and snacks.
Teach Good Eating Habits
Sit and eat with children at meals and snacks. Remind children to take small bites of food
and swallow between bites. Eating together may help you quickly spot a child who might be
choking. Other tips to help prevent choking while eating include:
- Only providing foods as part of meals and snacks served at a dining table or high chair. When serving infants, do not prop the bottle up on a pillow or other item for the baby to feed him or herself.
- Allowing plenty of time for meals and snacks.
- Making sure children are sitting upright while eating.
- Reminding children to swallow their food before talking or laughing.
- Modeling safe behavior for children to follow, including eating slowly, taking small bites, and chewing food completely before swallowing.
- Encouraging older children to serve as role models for younger children as well. All childrenshould avoid playing games with food, as that may lead to an increased risk of choking.
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