Putting things in their mouths is one of the ways that babies and small children explore their worlds. Choking is usually caused by food, toys, and other small objects that can easily lodge in a child's small airway — anything that fits can be a danger.
Pay special attention to the following to protect your kids from choking:
These soft foods, except caramels, can be served if they're chopped into small pieces or peeled if they have skin. Spoonfuls of peanut butter and chewing gum also should be regarded as potential choking hazards.
If you're expecting a baby or already have a child, it's a good idea to:
To check your childproofing efforts, get down on your hands and knees in every room of your home to see things from a child's perspective. Be aware of your child's surroundings and what might be potentially dangerous.
Completely childproofing your home can be difficult. If you can't childproof the entire house, you can shut the doors (and install doorknob covers) to any room a child shouldn't enter to prevent wandering into places that haven't been properly childproofed. For sliding doors, doorknob covers and childproof locks are also great for keeping little ones from leaving your home.
Of course, childproofing cannot replace adult supervision as the best way to help prevent kids from getting injured.
Whether you have a baby, toddler, or school-age child, your home should be a haven where your little one can explore safely. After all, touching, holding, climbing, and exploring are the activities that develop your child's body and mind.
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: August 2013
|National SAFE KIDS Campaign The National SAFE KIDS Campaign offers information about car seats, crib safety, fact sheets, and links to other health- and safety-oriented sites.|
|U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) This federal agency collects information about consumer goods and issues recalls on unsafe or dangerous products.|
|American Red Cross The American Red Cross helps prepare communities for emergencies and works to keep people safe every day. The website has information on first aid, safety, and more.|
|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
|TOYSAFETY.net This site, which is a project of the National Association of State Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) provides toy safety information for consumers.|
|Emergency Contact Sheet The best time to prepare for an emergency is before it happens. Fill out this sheet, and post it near each phone.|
|First Aid: Choking Choking can be a life-threatening emergency. Follow these steps if your child is choking.|
|CPR Every parent should know how and when to administer CPR. Done correctly, CPR can save a child's life by restoring breathing and circulation until medical personnel arrive.|
|Getting Help: Know the Numbers The best time to prepare for an emergency is before one happens. Make sure your family knows emergency phone numbers - and make sure your kids know how to place a call for help.|
|Choking Choking is an emergency - so it's important to recognize the signs of choking and know what to do if happens.|
|First-Aid Kit A well-stocked first-aid kit, kept in easy reach, is a necessity in every home. Learn where you should keep a kit and what to put in it.|
|Childproofing and Preventing Household Accidents You might think of babies and toddlers when you hear the words "babyproofing" or "childproofing," but unintentional injury is the leading cause of death in kids 14 years old and under.|
|Choosing Safe Toys Toys are a fun and important part of any child's development. And there's plenty you can do to make sure all toys are safe.|
|Choosing Safe Toys for Toddlers and Preschoolers How can you tell if a small toy poses a choking risk? What types of unsafe toys should you avoid for your baby, toddler, or preschooler? Find out here.|
|Babysitting: Dealing With Choking What should you do if a child you're babysitting is choking? Our tip sheet can help you be prepared.|
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