Preventing Choking

Topic Overview

  • Don't drink too much alcohol before eating. It may dull your senses, and you might not chew food properly or might try to swallow too large a portion of food.
  • Take small bites. Cut meat into small pieces. Chew your food thoroughly.
  • Do not give popcorn, nuts, or hard candy to children younger than 4, and supervise older children when they eat these foods. Cut hot dogs and grapes lengthwise.
  • Do not give young children small objects that may cause choking, such as marbles or jacks.
  • Look for age guidelines when selecting toys for children.
    • Do not let your child play with a toy if he or she is younger than the recommended age for the toy.
    • The safest toys for small children are at least 3 cm (1.25 in.) around or 6 cm (2.25 in.) in length.
  • Keep balloons and plastic bags away from any child who may put them in his or her mouth.

Credits

Current as of: June 26, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
David Messenger MD

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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