Did you know that choking sends thousands of infants, toddlers, and young children to emergency rooms each year?

Tips to lower your child's risk of choking
 Keep small household items and toys with small removable parts out of toddlers’ reach.

A toddler’s risk of choking is something that all parents need to be aware of, as it can happen quite easily. In this article, we will be discussing some tips that can help to lower your toddler’s choking risk.

What are different things that toddlers may choke on?

Choking is a common and potentially serious health concern for toddlers. Some common items children can choke are:

  • Sticky foods like peanut butter, honey, yoghurt, and jam can get stuck in children’s throats and cause choking.
  • Children might put things in their mouths that could get stuck in the throat including candy, balloons, toys, and stuffed animals.
  • Children can drown or choke on water while swimming in pools, ponds, or baths and water toys.
  • Children can choke on coins, buttons, and other objects.
  • Children can also choke on food that is stuck in their teeth.

What are the symptoms of choking?

The symptoms of choking are as follows:

  • Uncontrollable gagging or coughing
  • Chest pain
  • Blue lips
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

What does the Heimlich manoeuvre do?

The Heimlich manoeuvre is a technique to free an individual of airway blockage in case of choking. It is performed by lifting and tilting the individual as you simultaneously place your closed hand (palm facing down) firmly around the affected person’s abdomen, just below the ribcage, with your thumb resting under the lower portion of the person’s ribcage.

The individual is lifted off the floor and maintained at a 90° angle to the floor. As you simultaneously apply traction on your hand, you pull the individual up and down the length of their spine. The individual should be able to breathe. As you continue pulling up until the airway is free, the individual should cough.

Remember these safety tips

1. Avoid giving your child small, hard objects to eat. This includes nuts, seeds, hard candy, and popcorn.

2. Always supervise your child when they are eating. Never leave them alone with food, even if they are accustomed to eating solid foods.

3. Cut food into small pieces so that they are easier for your child to chew and swallow.

4. Teach your child how to chew their food properly. Toddlers should chew their food for at least 20 seconds before swallowing.

5. If your child has trouble swallowing solid food, use a spoon and pour the food into a small cup or bowl.

6. If your child has difficulty breathing or is not breathing, call emergency services immediately.

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