Choking is an extremely common cause of injury and death for little ones. As parents, we have to be diligent about making sure that they are safe. Babies like to put things in their mouths, and they aren’t necessarily very good about being able to chew their food or swallow properly.
Here are some things you can do to help prevent your baby from choking:
- Choose the right time to introduce solid foods. Food is the most common object that babies choke on. If you introduce solid foods to your baby before she has the necessary skills required to swallow those solid foods, your baby can choke. As a general rule of thumb, you should wait until your baby is at least 4 months of age before you start to introduce any sort of solid food.
- Avoid high risk foods. You’ll make sure you don’t give small and slippery foods, like whole grapes, to babies. Other examples are hot dogs and hard candy. Dry foods that are difficult to chew should be avoided, as well. Examples of those are popcorn, raw carrots, nuts and sunflower seeds. The final category of high risk foods include sticky foods. Examples of sticky foods are gum, peanut butter and marshmallows.
- Supervise your baby at mealtime. Even when your child gets older, don’t let him run or walk while he’s eating. Remind him to chew his food before talking, and don’t let him throw food in the air in order to catch it in his mouth.
- Watch out for toys. Some toys have small parts, and these should be avoided. Look for the manufacturer’s age guidelines, and remember that those guidelines aren’t always developmental, they are often safety-related.
- Get dangerous items out of your baby’s reach. This would include things like batteries, coins, safety pins, pen caps, buttons and bottle tops.