Make eating safer for kids

We often hear about the choking hazard in young children. But why are young children more at risk of choking and how can you prevent it from happening?

According to the Child Accident Prevention Foundation, choking is more common in young children for the following reasons:

  • Young children do not have the back teeth needed to chew and grind lumps of food properly. These may not be fully developed until around four years of age.
  • Young children are still learning to eat solid food. Food swallowed in large pieces is more likely to get stuck if it goes “down the wrong way” and blocks the airways. This can cause young children to choke.
  • If young children run, play, laugh or cry while eating they are more likely to choke on their food.

How can you prevent choking?

Food:

  • Do not give foods that can break off into hard pieces.
  • Avoid raw carrot, celery sticks and apple pieces, for example. These foods should be grated, cooked or mashed.
  • Sausages, frankfurters and other meats should cut into pieces.
  • Tough skins on sausages should be removed.
  • Do not give popcorn, nuts, hard lollies, cornchips or other similar foods.

At eating times:

  • Always supervise young children while eating.
  • Make sure they sit quietly while eating.
  • Never force young children to eat, as this may cause them to choke.

(Liesel Powell, Health24)

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