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Choking Prevention

What do I need to know about choking?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), choking rates are highest for babies under one year old.  The majority of kids’ choking injuries are caused by food.  There are three basic steps in keeping kids safe from choking:

How can I feed my baby safely?

What are some suggestions for safe and healthy finger foods?

Find out more about feeding babies and feeding kids.

How can I feed my children safely, and what do I do if they choke?
Kids under age five can choke on food and small objects.  Believe it or not, a lot of the choking prevention advice for babies still holds for children up to 4 to 7 years old!

What are the non-food choking hazards?

How do I childproof my house to prevent choking?

Each time before you set your crawler or toddler loose, get down on the ground and look for dangerous items.  Remember to check under furniture and between cushions.  If you have older kids, make sure your younger child can’t get to the toys with small parts.  While you are expecting a new baby, start training your older child to keep dangerous toys in the designated “small parts” area.  Supervise kids when they are playing.  Make sure your older kids don’t give dangerous toys or objects to your younger kids.  Follow age recommendations on toy packages—they often are based on possible choking hazards.

Be aware also of other kinds of airway obstruction injuries such as suffocation, strangulation and entrapment and how to prevent them and other injuries. 

What do I do if my child chokes?

Learn how to respond to an emergency by taking a first aid/CPR class.  Find a CPR course in your area.

Where can I learn more about related topics?

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention. Policy statement prevention of choking among children. Pediatrics. 2010;125(3):601-607.

AAP.  Choking Prevention.  Available at URL:  Accessed 22 March 2011.

CDC.  Nonfatal choking-related episodes for children 0 to 14 years of age—United States, 2001.  MMWR 2002.  Available at URL:  Accessed 22 March 2011.

CDC National Center for Injury Prention and Control.  Choking epsodes among children.  Available at URL:  Accessed 22 March 2011

Written and compiled by Kyla Boyse, R.N.  Reviewed by faculty and staff at the University of Michigan

Updated March 2011

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