When we were expecting my eldest daughter, Sophia being born, I remember my wife saying, “Dave, when we have kids, we need to keep an eye on them like a hawk.” I obviously nodded and agreed, but I said to myself, how can a baby get into much trouble if they just sleep, eat and poop. I was definitely wrong and the hawk thing my wife mentioned was actually true, but today I will not be talking about all the hazards a baby/kid can put themselves through, but about 10 ways to prevent your baby/kids from choking from a parent’s perspective.
When your babies start growing up and learning to sit up straight, they will eventually start eating some solid foods, that is where the extra eye should start, even a simple cut strawberry can be a hazard, but don’t worry I will be listing some things down to prevent your kids going there, will also conclude this article with an amazing video which helped numerous times when needed.
The Rules when Playing
Yes, choking is not only related to food but anything your child sees, as it can easily be put in their mouth, why? Babies put stuff in their mouths to allow them to discover the taste and texture of the object, this may also be a sign that your babies may be teething. Anyway, let’s break down some rules!
1. Play Area
This in my opinion is the best and safest thing to do when you have a crawling baby, always have a baby zone, I suggest a playpen or a gated playing area. In this area, avoid at all costs small objects that can be swallowed, like small building blocks, marbles, small parts of toys or any choking hazards. If this object can fit in the babies mouth is a hazard, so keep clear of these items when you’re not constantly looking at your child.
2. Beware of older kid toys
When you have an older child, they have their own toys and if you live in a smaller apartment like us, you are limited with space, so my advice is to gather as many baby toys in the playpen, so your younger child is busy with identifying his/her own baby toys, whilst asking the older child what they want either playing with her younger sibling, but sharing the toys or picking the older toys and removing any choking hazards. When opening new toys always read if that toy is appropriate for their child, there’s a reason why there is a cartoon baby on every side of the box 😉
3. Become a baby
Yes, make a wish to become a baby 🤣(Let’s be honest we all thought about that) What I mean here is babies are mostly always on the floor, so before doing something else, always lay down flat on the ground and see what your baby sees, as you might be surprised whats lying around under the sofa, bed or table. Be like a hawk 🦅
4. Make them sit up straight
Do you remember, when you were younger you’re on the sofa watching your favourite cartoon and your mum brings you a sandwich and you play it cool and eat it lying down? Then, your mum screams and says sit down straight because you’ll choke, yep, brings back memories! This time make sure, your kid does the same, by strapping them tightly to the high-chair or booster seat, as a straight back makes a comfortable baby + eats happy = Less likely to choke.
5. Turn yourself into a hawk
This phrase can be used in everything related to monitoring your child movements as accidents always happen when you’re not looking. My suggestion, always scan what’s around your child when sitting on their chair, for example, are they next to the dining table? Maybe there is some loose change, small toys, button batteries (Don’t leave these lying around, come on) or anything small that can be hazardous. Remember, your baby is curious and will grab anything new to them
6. Never assume that it will never happen
If you see something and you are assuming that your child will never reach it or choke on it, that might be your parental instinct telling you “What are you doing, doodoo brain, remove that or cut it in smaller pieces.”
7. Don’t talk with your mouth full
If you teach your child at a young age, they will become more educated in society in the future, as unfortunately even adults still do that and apart from it being disgusting and rude, also very dangerous. Obviously, this rule complies with slightly older toddlers, that whenever they are eating avoid communicating too much and if you see them starting a conversation whilst eating, stop them and tell them to finish chewing, swallow and then tell us what happened.
8. Avoid certain types of food as a solid
There’s quite an extensive list, but I will list the most sought after food: uncut cherry tomatoes, uncut grapes, uncut raw carrots, uncut apples, large chunks of meat, uncut sausages, fish bones, granola bars, lollipops, jelly beans and marshmallows. I am not saying to avoid these food types, but give with caution and always cut into quarters and not half it as it might still be a choking hazard. My last suggestion is to avoid completely popcorn and nuts because even if given with caution there’s a higher chance that they might choke. If you want to give them something nutty, better go with freshly made peanut butter, which is smooth and has no nut pieces.
9. Avoid giving food when you’re driving
Yes, we have all been there that your child starts being fussy in the car, and the only way to calm them down is by giving them a treat, that’s true! You should always avoid any type of food without supervision especially if you are the only one driving. If you have no choice, always give food that melts or crumble easily.
10. Get them accustomed to mealtime without other distractions
We all love some TV in the background, but being surrounded by technology you may be getting them further away from family time and also might get them more distracted whilst eating which may lead to choking. Sit down as a family, turn of the TV and eat together as a family and this will allow you to keep an eye on your kids what they are eating and how they eating.
To end this blog post, I decided to share some insightful information to help you even more when dealing with a choking child. Thanks to CPR Kids TV for a very interesting tutorial very helpful.