After your toddler gives up his pureed baby food, he’ll have more grown-up textures. With a rapidly increasing complement of teeth, they are ready to enter a whole new world of eating experiences. Even at this time, there are still some foods that should be kept out of your toddler’s reach because they can be a choking hazard.
Several factors may combine to make your young child more likely to choke on food than older children and adults. Even once they have a complete dentition, their chewing and swallowing are still immature; they are also very likely to swallow food when they are anxious to play again. Sometimes they lean in to eat while running.
To minimize choking hazards, the following foods should be kept out of your toddler’s reach, with a few exceptions: Hot dogs, unless cut lengthwise before cutting crosswise. Hard candies and marshmallows, nuts (especially peanuts), grapes, and cherries, unless you remove the skin and seeds to reduce risk. Firm biscuits or biscuits; you should choose the varieties that melt in your mouth. Whole raw carrots, unless you slice them, same with apples. Other foods that have a high choking risk include popcorn, tablespoonful peanut butter, beans and garbanzo beans (unless pureed), raw celery, and hard raisins.
You can further reduce the risk of choking by insisting that your toddler eat sitting down. Eating while running and even walking, playing, lying down or semi-reclining can present a choking hazard. Since almost any food, including breads and pastas, can cause choking; all young children must be supervised while eating. You should prohibit your toddler from eating any choking food while in the car, especially if there is no adult present other than the driver who could handle a choking incident. You need to be very careful when you have applied teething gel to numb the gums. Until the effects of the anesthesia wear off, your child will not be able to chew normally, so only soft foods should be offered. It is also necessary to discourage him from talking or laughing with his mouth full. This rule will be easier to enforce if everyone in the family follows it.
Even with these precautions, a small child can have choking problems. If your toddler is still coughing, breathing, and crying, you should not interfere, however, if they have been coughing forcefully for more than two to three minutes, you should call 911. If they become quiet and have difficulty breathing, then it is time to begin rescue efforts.
First, if someone else is with you, ask them to call 911 for medical help. Call 911 also if you are not familiar with the rescue procedures, you should have them on the line even if you are familiar with the procedure in case something happens. If your child is awake, you should kneel behind him and wrap your arms around her waist. Make a fist with one hand and place the thumb down in the center of the body, slightly above the navel and well below the ribcage. Take your placed fist with the other hand and press it against your child’s abdomen with a quick inward and upward motion. Each of these pushes should be a separate and distinct movement. Repeat this up to five times or when the object is expelled and your child is breathing normally.