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Prevent Young Children From Choking

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

It is every parent's worst nightmare: their child chokes and can't breathe. According to the National Safety Council, choking is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death in children under age 14.

In this post, we'll discuss the dangers of choking and how to prevent it in young children. We'll also provide tips on what to do if your child chokes.

Choking can be a deadly occurrence, so it's important to be aware of the risks and take precautions to keep your child safe. Keep reading to learn more!

What is Choking and How Does it Happen?

Choking occurs when a foreign object becomes lodged in the throat or windpipe, blocking the flow of air. If the object is not removed quickly, it can cause serious health complications, including loss of consciousness and death. Choking is most common in young children, who are curious and exploratory and often put objects in their mouths.

Regardless of the cause, it is important to act quickly if someone appears to be choking.

The Dangers of Choking - What Can Go Wrong

Blocked airways can quickly lead to oxygen deprivation, which can damage the brain and other vital organs. In severe cases, choking can be fatal. Even if a choking victim is successfully resuscitated, they may suffer from long-term complications such as brain damage or learning disabilities.

As a result, it is important to be aware of the dangers of choking and how to prevent it.

choking back blows and abdominal thrusts

Check out or comparison of the LifeVac Vs the Dechoker

What to Do if a Child is Choking

If you see a child choking, it is important to act quickly and calmly.

The first step is to assess the situation. If the child is still able to cough or cry, then they are most likely able to breathe and just need some help clearing the obstruction.

You can try gently patting their back or having them drink a small amount of water. However, if the child is unable to cough or cry, then they are in danger of losing consciousness and you will need to perform the Heimlich maneuver.

First, position yourself behind the child and wrap your arms around their waist.

Next, make a fist with one hand and place it just above their belly button.

Finally, thrust your fist upwards sharply until the obstruction is dislodged. If you are still unable to remove the obstruction, call 911 immediately.

Choking is a serious matter, but by knowing what to do you can help to keep a child safe.

DeChoker - Anti-Choking Device

DeChoker - Anti-Choking Device

In situations where every second counts, having the right tool to combat choking emergencies is crucial. Introducing the DeChoker anti-choking device—a remarkable innovation designed to swiftly and effectively clear airways obstructed by fluid or foreign materials.

With its advanced features and user-friendly design, the DeChoker offers a safe and efficient solution that can make all the difference when it comes to saving lives.

Equipped with a respiratory mask, the DeChoker aids in dislodging foreign objects, allowing for the restoration of normal breathing.

To prevent the mouth cavity from collapsing during the rescue process, a specially designed tongue depressor is incorporated into the device. This unique combination of features ensures that airways remain clear and unobstructed, providing the best possible chance of successful intervention.

What sets the DeChoker apart is its backflow release valve, which effectively halts debris from re-entering the mouth and causing further complications. This feature adds an extra layer of safety and reassurance during the rescue procedure, giving you peace of mind in critical situations.

The convenience of the DeChoker cannot be overstated. With its easy-to-follow instructions, this choke rescue medical device can be readily applied by anyone, including children. Its portable and compact design makes it effortless to carry in a backpack, glove compartment, or first-aid kits, ensuring you have immediate access to life-saving assistance wherever you are—at home, school, or the office.

Choking Hazards

Choking occurs when a foreign object becomes lodged in the throat, blocking the airway. Children are at especially high risk because their airways are smaller and they often put objects in their mouths.

To help prevent choking, it is important to be aware of the common hazards. The most common choking hazards for children are:

Potential Choking Hazards

What is the best anti-choking device on the market today? Find out in our Dechoker vs lifevac comparison here.

1. Coins

Coins are a common choking hazard for younger kids. They are small, round, and easy to put in the mouth. Even a penny can block a child's mouth and cause them to choke.

If a coin lodges in the throat, it can cause serious injury or even death. A child who is choking on a coin will usually have difficulty breathing, coughing, or making any noise. If you suspect that a child is choking on a coin, it is important to act quickly.

First, try to encourage them to cough up the coin. If that doesn't work, then you will need to perform the Heimlich maneuver. The Heimlich maneuver involves placing your hands around the child's waist and thrusting upwards into their diaphragm. This will usually dislodge the coin and allow the child to breathe again.

However, if the child loses consciousness, you will need to call 911 immediately.

To prevent a child from choking on a coin, it is important to keep loose change out of reach. Coins should be stored in a safe place where kids cannot get to them.

2. Toys

Small toys or toy parts can easily get lodged in a child's throat, blocking their airway. This can cause them to suffocate or choke to death.

In order to prevent a child from choking on a toy, it is important to choose toys carefully and to supervise children while they are playing.

Avoid giving small children toys that have small parts or that can easily break into small pieces. Also, be sure to closely supervise children while they are playing with toys, and do not let them play with toys unsupervised.

I take all of the small pieces from my toddler's toy sets and put them in a plastic bag and label them. This way we can come back to them in the future when my little guy is old enough to have fun with the small pieces and not have to worry about the choking hazards.

If a child does start to choke on a toy, it is important to act quickly and remove the toy from their throat. If you are unable to remove the toy, call 911 immediately and begin the Heimlich if necessary.

3. Corn Chips

Corn chips are a common snack food, but they can pose a serious choking risk for babies and young children. The chips are hard and brittle, and when they break, they can easily become lodged in a child's throat.

In addition, the chips are often covered in salt and seasoning, which can make them even more difficult to swallow. If a child begins to choke on a corn chip, it is important to take action immediately.

The best way to prevent a child from choking on corn chips is to supervise them while they are eating. Make sure that they are sitting up straight and that they are not eating too quickly. If you see a chip begin to break, take it away from the child and dispose of it properly.

Check the child's mouth frequently and teach them verbal commands, such as "open mouth". This should be a task that is simple for them to understand and complete, even if they are not yet talking.

4. Raw Carrots and other Raw Vegetables

Raw carrots and other raw vegetables are choking risks for young and older children because they are hard to chew and can block a child's airway.

To prevent a child from choking on raw vegetables, cut food into small pieces, cook them until they are soft, or mash them into a puree. You can also give your child food that is easy to chew and swallow, such as cooked rice or pasta.

If you are feeding a baby carrots, make sure to puree them into a smooth consistency. Always encourage young kids to chew food by verbally giving commands.

Finally, always supervise your child while they are eating, and be prepared to administer the Heimlich maneuver if necessary.

5. Grapes and other small fruit

One of the greatest choking risks is from grapes and other small fruit. The small size of grapes makes them easy to inhale for children, and the smooth surface can make it difficult for a child to cough them up once they're lodged in the throat.

There are a few ways to prevent a child from choking on grapes.

First, cut the grapes into small pieces. This will make them easier to chew and less likely to get stuck in the throat.

Second, avoid giving whole grapes to children younger than the age of four. Beware of seeds chunks in grapes and other small fruits.

Third, supervise your child while they are eating grapes or any other small fruits. Make sure children sit up while eating and check

If you see them starting to choke, perform the Heimlich maneuver immediately.

6. Sticky Candy

Sticky candy is a choking hazard for children for a few reasons.

First, the sticky texture can cause the candy to adhere to the child's throat, making it difficult to breathe.

Second, sticky candy is often very hard, which can make it difficult to chew and swallow.

Finally, candy is often brightly colored and appealing to children, which can make it more likely that they will put it in their mouths without thinking.

To prevent a child from choking on this type of candy, it is important to closely supervise them when they are eating it.

Additionally, make sure that they are sitting upright and not lying down while they are eating the candy.

Finally, be sure to have the child drink plenty of water after eating sticky candy to help dislodge any pieces that may be stuck in their throat.

7. Hot Dogs

Hot dogs are a particular hazard because they are the perfect size to block a child's airway. They can also be difficult to chew, increasing the risk of choking.

There are several steps that parents can take to prevent their child from choking on hot dogs.

First, it is important to cut hot dogs lengthwise or into small pieces before giving them to young children.

It is also important to supervision children when they are eating and to be prepared to perform the Heimlich if necessary.

Finally, parents should avoid giving their child whole frankfurters or leaving them unsupervised with hot dogs. By taking these precautions, parents can help to keep their children safe from choking hazards.

When to Seek Medical Help For a Choking Child

Child Safety

When a child is choking, it can be an extremely terrifying experience for both the child and their caregiver. If the obstruction is not quickly removed, it can cause serious damage to the little one's airway and even lead to death.

For this reason, it is important to know when to seek medical help for choking children.

There are a few signs that indicate a child is choking and in need of assistance. If the baby's mouth/airway is completely blocked, they will be unable to make any noise, including coughing or crying.

The child may also have difficulty breathing, their face may turn red or purple, and they may clutch their throat. If you see any of these signs, it is important to call 911 immediately and begin performing CPR.

By remaining calm and acting quickly, you can provide the child with the care they need and help to prevent a potentially life-threatening situation.


Choking is a leading cause of death in babies and young children, but it is preventable. Home and childcare providers can take steps to reduce the risk of choking by being aware of the dangers, such as drinking too much liquid, eating big bites of food, or getting hold of small objects.

That’s why it is important to remember to teach children about safe eating habits and keep small objects out of reach. If you are concerned that your child may be at risk for choking, talk to your doctor or another healthcare professional.

Consider purchasing a choking relief devise, such as a LifeVac or a Dechoker as a back up during an emergency.

With proper awareness and prevention, we can keep our children safe from this hidden danger. To learn more about CPR and other lifesaving skills, download our free guide today.

FAQ - Choking and Child Safety

1. What is choking, and how does it happen?

Choking occurs when a foreign object obstructs the throat or windpipe, preventing the flow of air. This can lead to serious health issues, including unconsciousness and death. Children are particularly vulnerable due to their tendency to explore objects with their mouths.

Have a furry friend at home? Check out our article on What to do if A Dog is Choking.

2. How dangerous is choking?

Choking is a significant cause of unintentional injury and death, especially among children. Blocked airways can lead to oxygen deprivation, potentially causing brain damage or death. Even successful resuscitation can result in long-term complications.

3. What should I do if a child is choking?

Act swiftly and calmly. If the child can cough or cry, they likely have some airway clearance, so encourage them to cough. If not, perform the Heimlich maneuver by standing behind them, making a fist above the belly button, and thrusting upward. If unsuccessful, call 911.

4. What are common choking hazards for children?

Objects like coins, small toys, corn chips, raw vegetables, grapes, sticky candy, and hot dogs pose choking risks due to their size, shape, and texture. Supervision and proper preparation can help reduce these risks.

5. What anti-choking devices are available?

Devices like the DeChoker and LifeVac are designed to swiftly clear airways obstructed by foreign objects. These devices, equipped with unique features like back flow release valves, can aid in dislodging obstructions and restoring normal breathing.

6. How can I prevent choking hazards for my child?

To prevent choking, keep small objects out of reach, cut food into appropriate sizes, supervise meals, and choose safe toys. Avoid giving young children items like coins, whole grapes, or sticky candies that can easily block their airways.

7. When should I seek medical help for a choking child?

If a child is unable to make noise, breathe, or shows signs of distress like face discoloration, clutching their throat, or difficulty breathing, call 911 immediately. Prompt action can prevent a life-threatening situation.

8. What steps can I take to ensure child safety against choking?

Teach safe eating habits, discourage playing with small objects, and always supervise children during meals and playtime. Educate yourself and your child on proper responses to choking incidents.

9. Can choking be prevented entirely?

While choking risks can never be entirely eliminated, awareness, education, and proper precautions can significantly reduce the likelihood of choking incidents and their severity.

10. Where can I learn more about CPR and choking prevention?

Download Lifeguardli's free CPR & Choking training guide to learn essential life-saving skills and safety measures to protect children from choking hazards.


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Steve Grella is a father of two young boys. He is a Police Detective, EMT, lifeguard trainer and swim instructor, who brings over 20 years of knowledge and expertise in safety and service. He has dedicated his life to educating students in vital lifesaving training and now strives to provide expert resources to arm you with the skills and training to one day save a life if called upon.

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