First time moms will usually panic when a baby chokes. One should know that choking is a common cause of injury and death in young children, primarily because their small airways are easily obstructed. An average of 1 child every 5 days die of choking on food in the United States.

A new policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), led by a doctor at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and published in the February 22 online issue of Pediatrics. According to the policy statement, the AAP recommends:

  • Warning labels on foods that pose a high choking risk
  • A recall of food products that pose a significant choking hazard
  • The establishment of a nationwide food-related choking-incident surveillance and reporting system
  • A commitment from food manufacturers to design new food and redesign existing food to minimize choking risk, to the extent possible

In order to reduce the risk of choking, parents and caregivers can do their part by following these safety tips:

  • Do not give children younger than 4 any round, firm foods unless they have been cut into very small pieces. Cut hot dogs lengthwise and cut grapes into quarters. This changes the dangerous round shape that can block a young child’s throat.
  • Do not give toddlers other high risk foods, such as hard candy, nuts, seeds and raw carrots.
  • Never let small children run, play or lie down while eating.
  • Keep coins and other small items out of reach of young children at all times.
  • Carefully read warning labels on toys before giving them to young children.
  • To check if a part of a toy is too small, use a small parts test device, which is available at many toy stores.
  • Additionally, parents and caregivers should learn first aid for choking and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the event a choking episode occurs.

Unfortunately, not all household can perform baby or child CPR. To know more about how it is done first hand, it is important you enlist to professional CPR class. Check out the nearest CPR class in your area.

Nationwide Children. (2010). American Academy of Pediatrics Releases New Policy Statement on Choking. Accessed at http://www.nationwidechildrens.org/news-room-articles/american-academy-of-pediatrics-releases-new-policy-statement-on-choking?contentid=55661 April 2017.

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