According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, choking is the leading cause of death among children under 3 years of age.
The statistics are alarming. Food, coins and toys top the list of culprits. Complete vigilance in this area falls directly on parents and caregivers.
There are many characteristics that make an item a risk; size, shape, and consistency play a part in their potential to cause choking among small children.
Children under 3 love putting everything in their mouths. This is a natural milestone! Preparing your environment is paramount.
If you have older children in the same home, remove toys with small pieces from the play environment while the younger child is around. Toys and their benefits are important, but how do we keep our children safe?
What is small? How can I tell if something is a choking hazard?
Try the simple toilet paper roll test.
If an item fits easily inside the hollow middle of a toilet paper roll, the item is too small and potentially hazardous for a child under 3.
There are plastic 'testers' on the market that indicate parts smaller than 1¼ inches around or 2¼ inches long pose a choking hazard. The TP test has a bit of a larger area, but it's an inexpensive, easy way to test out toys and food items you already have on hand.
All young children are at risk for choking. We have some ideas to help you safeguard your children:
Foods to avoid
Toys and items to avoid
Special Note About Balloons
A surprising, common hazard are balloons - not when they are blown up, but when they're deflated! Never let small children play with balloons, blow them up or pop them. The deflated balloon poses serious hazards. Also, hanging mobiles above cribs can be dangerous and putting your child to bed with jewelry or hair accessories on.
Choking can be avoided!
Parents and caregivers need to be aware of choking risks for children. We hope the easy tips and ideas will help ease your stress in this area and offer you thoughtful ways to avoid a choking emergency in your home.