Summer is officially underway, and with the season comes a whole new set of choking prevention challenges for parents and caregivers everywhere. Kids are more likely to experience choking emergencies than adults, and though those emergencies can happen anytime, we’d like to take this opportunity to give you some special tips about this time of year. Here are the top summer choking dangers to watch out for.
The kids are out of school now, which means less structure around meals and possibly less direct supervision, depending on your children’s ages and childcare situation. Middle school or teenage kids might spend days at home alone or watching younger siblings. We’re picturing lots of kids on the couch snacking while they play on a mobile device or watch TV.
Kids are more likely to choke on food than other objects, and that choking risk goes up even more when kids are lying down and compressing their windpipes, or when they’re running around. The safest way to eat is sitting upright at a table, but summer just seems to bring up so many other impromptu snacks and meal times for kids. What’s more, trusted adults like parents and teachers may not be there if an emergency happens.
What can you do as a parent? Start by talking to 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 work to prevent choking emergencies.
Speaking of choking on food, there are lots of summertime events where choking risks might increase. Think of all the cookouts, outdoor parties, trips to the beach or pool, outings at the ballpark and other summer moments that involve eating. When kids are running around and they eat something, they are more likely to choke than if they are sitting still.
What’s more, summer foods themselves might increase risks. Some of the top foods that cause choking among kids are hot dogs, grapes, carrots, popcorn, candy and marshmallows — all common summertime treats. The best way to prevent choking emergencies with these foods is to cut them into very small sizes for young kids and to pay extra close attention when children are eating them.
This might sound like a surprising tip, but it’s an important one! Aside from food, one of the most common things kids choke on is balloons. Many parents of little ones can attest that kids seem to be drawn to putting deflated balloons in their mouths, whether to try to blow them up or just chew on them.
In the summer, you’ve got trips to the amusement park or fair, water balloon fights and birthday parties, although we admit that’s a year-round source of this particular risk. Nonetheless, this is a good time of year to be reminded of the balloon danger.
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 device has begun to stem the tide of choking deaths around the world, and we believe it’s an invaluable addition to every home at any time of year.
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