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Choking (cont.)

Choking Prevention

Be prepared to help: If you are ever in this situation as an observer you will want to be trained in the simple, yet life-saving choking treatment methods and CPR.

Attend a training class: Many are available through the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, hospitals, worksites, and other local organizations.

Prevention tips for children

  • Don't give young children hard foods or small objects that are likely to become lodged in their airways. This includes nuts, seeds, gum, hard candy, peas, and tough meats. It is recommended that foods such as these not be given to any child younger than four years of age.
  • Cut foods such as hot dogs, sausages, and grapes into small pieces before serving them to young children.
  • Look over toys to find small pieces (eyes and noses on stuffed animals, for example) that the child might be tempted to place in his or her mouth.
  • Choking on a rubber balloon is the leading cause of choking death in children who choke on objects other than food. Clean up right after parties. Toddlers are prone to stick anything they find on the floor into their mouths, including dangerous objects.
  • Store small objects, such as buttons and batteries, out of a child's reach.
  • Do not allow children to play sports with food or gum in their mouths.
  • Tell babysitters and older brothers and sisters what foods and objects should not be given to young children.
  • Instruct children to chew their food thoroughly before swallowing.

Prevention tips for adults

  • Avoid placing objects such as nails or pins in your mouth for quick access.
  • Take small bites and chew food thoroughly.
  • Be aware that alcohol may impair your ability to chew and swallow, and increase your risk of choking.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/23/2014

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