If you are a parent or work with small children, knowing how to protect against choking hazards as well as knowing what to do in the event that a child is choking is essential. To help you out, we’ve put together the below guide on choking hazard safety.
What is a Choking Hazard?
A choking hazard is any item that is small enough for a child to swallow and large enough to lodge itself in their throat. This can include food items, toys, small parts, and more.
Which Choking Hazards are the Most important for Me to Be Aware of?
Choking hazards come in many forms, and it isn’t possible to list them all. However, there are a number of common choking hazards that it is important for you to be aware of. These include choking hazards such as:
- Toys with detachable parts
- Latex balloons
- Small balls
- Marker or pen caps
While these items are all especially common choking hazards, it’s important to remain vigilant and keep small children away from any item that is small enough to fit entirely in their mouth.
Choking Hazard Prevention Tips
In addition to remaining vigilant about keeping small items away from children under three years of age, there are a number of other choking hazard prevention tips that you can make use of as well, including tips such as:
- Closely monitor children while they are eating
- Follow the age recommendation guidelines on toys
- Crawl around your home and make sure there are no choking hazards at toddler-eye-level
- Use a small parts tester to see if an item is too small to give to child under three years of age
- Cut food given to children into small bites
What to do if a Child is Choking
While prevention is certainly the best approach when it comes to choking hazard safety, there are times when prevention falls short. In the event that your child is choking, it is essential to act as quickly as possible. Dial 911 or have someone else dial 911 to get emergency help on the way. The next steps will depend on the age of the child who is choking. Babies under one year old should be placed on your forearm and struck firmly in the back with the heal of your hand. Older toddlers, meanwhile, are treated using a version of the Heimlich maneuver. CPR may need to be used as well after the child’s airway has been cleared if they do not start breathing again.
The troubling reality is that effectively providing emergency care to a choking child requires specific knowledge and training. If you are a parent or caregiver to small children, taking a CPR class that includes training on pediatric choking safety is by far one of the best decisions that you can make.