Every baby discovers her world with her hands and mouth. Sometimes we catch those things that might be a choking hazard before they reach the mouth, other times we don’t.
Reducing the Risk of Choking
Much of the focus on reducing the risk of choking surrounds food preparation. Parents need to cut food into smaller pieces and ensure that their child is chewing thoroughly before swallowing.
Many parents don’t realize that while food accounts for nearly 50 percent of all choking accidents, balloons are the leading, non-food-related cause of choking for children younger than 3 years of age. (2)
Household Choking Hazards
Other household choking hazards include:
• Safety pins
• Push pins
• “Button” batteries
Safe Toy Tips to Prevent Choking
Perhaps the most obvious non-food choking hazard for young children comes from small game pieces and other toy accessories. Keep these guidelines and recommendations in mind to ensure your environment is safe.
Safe toy tip #1
Toys that can fit through a 1-1/4-inch circle or are smaller than 2-1/4 inches long are unsafe for children under the age of four. (2)
Safe toy tip #2
Read labels and abide by the age recommendations on toys. Toys that have small assembling pieces or accessories (wheels, eyes) can come off and pose a choking hazard. (2)
Safe toy tip #3
Keep games with small pieces in a separate room from where the younger children play and close the door so they can’t get hold of the pieces when you’re not watching. (2)
Safe toy tip #4
Avoid buying toys out of vending machines for toddlers. These toys have to be small to fit in the vending machines and are not governed by any safety regulations. (1)
The vast majority of choking incidents are completely preventable. Parents need to be on the lookout for potential choking hazards. Parents need to balance their child’s need to explore and learn, with their need for protection against increased choking risks.
1. Choking/Suffocation Prevention.