During the summer months, things are less structured and trusted adults like parents and teachers may not be there if an emergency happens resulting in less supervision. Even though summer seems to bring up so many other impromptu snacks and meal times for kids, It is best to prepare these foods with choking prevention in mind. Try implementing these safe eating habits with your children:
Take the extra minute to serve the food in a safer way for your children. Depending on the age of your child, their airways can be small, which means they are still learning to chew and swallow properly. How well kids do with certain food varies from child to child, pay attention to yours and adjust as needed. Using a few precautionary measures can go a long way.
Teaching your child to chew and swallow properly, and to take their time during meals, will reduce their risk of choking.
During summer months it's easy for children to want to run around and play while eating. This will make it harder for them to have control over the food in their mouth. When kids eat something and then start running around, they are more likely to choke then if they are sitting still.
Giving them the attention they need while eating so you are right there if they have trouble eating. This includes watching older siblings who may offer foods that younger children can't handle yet.
What can you do as a parent or caregiver? Start by having a conversation with your kids about choking risks and prevention. Get the whole family involved so that in these summer months when supervision levels shift, you’ve got some backup. You should also talk with any babysitters, daycare employees or other childcare providers about how they can help to prevent choking emergencies.
Some of the most popular summertime foods that cause choking among kids are: hot dogs, whole grapes, carrots, popcorn, candy and marshmallows. Here are some examples of how these foods can be served in safer ways.
Cut hot dogs into strips first, then into smaller pieces. Round foods are most likely to get caught in the throat and cause choking. This can also be applied to foods like carrots, cheese sticks and grapes.
Whole grapes are yet again, another round food that has the potential to get stuck in a toddler's throat. Try to slice them vertically in half or quarters so that the pieces are easier to chew. Grape skin can lead to choking when it separates from the grape. For babies, it is best to use cup grapes without skin.
Give your child raw vegetables in shredded, matchsticks or cooked form, rather than as sticks or chunks. When offering hard, raw veggies under the age of four, try shredding or cutting into thin, matchstick slices to make the chewing process easier and decrease the choking risk. It’s a great place to start and you can do this with any vegetable, whether you're mixing it into various grains, or pasta.
Popcorn almost always has kerns, both whole and half popped. Any of these kernels can get stuck in your child’s throat and cause them to choke. It’s best to hold off until the age of four when the child should be good enough to chew and swallow popcorn safe Opt for a safer option such as corn puff or puffs.
Hard candies, taffy, or gum pose a significant choking hazard. Various candies like gum and taffy can mold and conform to block a child’s airway. While hard candies can size the airway.
At the end of the day, you won’t be able to avoid every single choking hazard, but remember to have as many as these suggestions on your side as possible to help prevent choking in your infant, toddler, or young child.
Our final tip for parents during these stressful months is to give yourself some peace of mind by adding a Dechoker device to your family’s first-aid kit. Our innovative, easy-to-use anti-choking device has already saved many lives, and proves to be an important addition to every home - at any time of year.Learn more here about The Dechoker and how it works.
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