As soon as your child begins to pick up things with his/her finger, you begin to worry about choking hazards. From small batteries, buttons, coins, safety pins, grapes and seeds, and small toy parts, choking hazards are everywhere.
So what are the common choking hazards and how can you reduce choking risk in your household?
What are the most common choking hazards?
- Food: While children begin to eat solid foods at 6 months of age, they won't begin to master chewing until 8-9 months. Choking on food is very common in children under 3. Make sure food is mashed and cut into manageable sizes. Please pay special attention when feeding your child string-like food such as string cheese, melted cheese, steamed string beans, raw vegetable chunks and cooked meat (always cut or slice along the grain)
- Candy and sweets: Candy and sweets are one of the top choking hazards. Hard candy, sticky candy, jelly beans, and gumballs can make your child choke if not cut into manageable bite sizes. Pediatricians usually discourage mothers from giving children candy and sweets all together under the age of 3 years due to health and choking hazards.
- Batteries and toy parts: Most children's toys are operated by AA batteries or button batteries. Button batteries are one of the most dangerous choking hazards, as they're small enough to be within your child's reach, but not small enough to be swallowed without choking. Store batteries in a safe, high spot away from your children. If your child is playing with a toy, make sure the battery hatch's lid is closed correctly.
- Coins and paper currency: Parents often leave coins and paper currency around the house. While it's less common for children to choke on paper currency, it remains a health hazard if chewed on. It's best to keep all your currency on a top shelf or in a tightly sealed change jar at home.
- Detergents & personal hygiene products: Personal hygiene products such as toothpaste, lotion, and cream can be a serious choking hazard. Not only is it not easy to swallow lotions and creams, the harmful chemicals can cause more damage to the internal organs. Similarly, detergents are a life threat when ingested. Many children ingesting detergents face a choking hazard due to a gag reflex. Keep all detergents and personal hygiene products away from your children at all times.
What are the symptoms of choking?
If your child is suffering from symptoms such as:
- Abdominal pain
- Trouble breathing
- Difficulty swallowing
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