Something happened recently that every mother fears and hopes they would never have to experience… MY TODDLER STARTED CHOKING. It was a pretty normal meal for my picky eater; Chicken fingers, green beans and a yogurt. The green beans I will admit were slightly undercooked (bad cook award goes to this mama). We were sitting at the dinner table for our normal meal routine and then it happened. He looked right into my soul with sheer panic on his face as he struggled to breath. Keep reading to learn how to prevent your toddler from choking.
My very first reaction was to call 911 because I wasn’t sure and didn’t know if I could dislodge it myself (mostly because I never had anything like this happen). I am 100 percent thankful my husband was there and sprung right into action. I don’t even want to think about what would have happened if he wasn’t there! We unbuckled him from his booster seat, turned him upside down and frantically pounded on his back. In my mind, 3 years have passed since he began choking but after a couple blows the object fell out of his mouth and he could finally breath again. This was the worst feeling I have ever felt!
I feel like as a mother who has experienced this traumatic event, I have to try and help other mamas not have to feel what I felt and think the horrible thoughts that ran through my mind in those precious moments. Did you know in the united states 1 child dies every 5 days from choking on food? So, I want to show you ways that you can help prevent this from happening to your children.
We will talk about how to tell if your toddler is choking, ways you can help prevent this from happening, foods to avoid due to a high choking hazard and what to do in the event they are choking.
Signs your toddler is choking
1. They start to panic waving their hands or grabbing at their throat.
2. Struggling to breath or gasping for air.
5. Turning blueish in the lips or skin
7. Can’t talk or make any kind of noise
8. Loose consciousness
Here is a video on how to give the Heimlich maneuver if your toddler is choking and this video is for a choking baby. Please watch these two videos as they help explain what you need to do once your child starts choking. Baby Center has a really informative article on what to do if your child starts to choke, also.
Tips to prevent your toddler from choking on food!
It’s important to remember that these tips will not guarantee your toddler won’t choke. They will just help prevent it. Which is really all we can do!
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1. Have them sit while eating, even snacks.
Also make sure you are always sitting with them while they eat, if they are choking they may have no way of telling you unless you can physically see them!
2. Continuously remind your toddler to take small bites and chew their food.
This is the biggest struggle with my toddler, he inhales his food, most of which he skips chewing. Perhaps, he’s teething and is uncomfortable or maybe he just wants to hurry and finish eating so he can continue to play and explore.
3. Cut all food small
All baby food should be cut no bigger than 1/4 inch pieces in all directions and toddler food should be cut no bigger than 1/2 inch pieces in all directions.
It’s so easy to panic when you are not prepared. You can print this guide (by going to my FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY) and put it on your fridge as a regular reminder on what to do if your toddler is choking.
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4. Allow plenty of time for your toddler to eat
This will allow you time to remind your toddler to eat slow and chew their food properly thus instilling proper safe eating etiquette.
5. Avoid round firm foods
Foods like hotdogs and grapes. Continue reading for a list of foods that pose a choking hazard for your toddler.
6. Avoid stringy foods like string beans and celery
7. Offer smaller portions at a time
8. Cut meat and poultry across the grain and into fingertip size pieces
9. Cut food no bigger than 1/2 inch in any direction for toddler and 1/4 in for babies
If you think for even a second there is a question about if the size of food your giving is right, CUT IT SMALLER! It’s better to be extra cautious now then to pay the price later.
10. Avoid raw foods
You can cook any raw food like apples and carrots, cut small to help prevent choking.
11. Avoid slippery food
It’s easy for your toddler to loose control of slippery food in their mouth.
There are ways to be proactive in preventing your child from choking as mentioned above. There are some foods you should try and avoid all together though.
Food to avoid feeding your baby and toddler
2. Hot dogs
3. Raw fruit
4. Whole Grapes
5. Whole cherry tomatoes
8. raw carrots
9. Whole olives
12. Large pieces of potato
13. Peas in a pod
17. Raw vegetables
19. Jelly Beans
20. Chunks of peanut butter
21. Cubed cheese
22. Under cooked green beans
Check out my FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY to print this list of hazardous food to feed your toddler.
The biggest thing I can say to any parent is be prepared and take the proper steps to prevent your toddler from choking! In the event your child does start choking they are going to rely 100 percent on you to help them! Consider taking a class that teaches CPR and the proper procedure on giving the Heimlich maneuver (its different for different ages). Being prepared will also help you to NOT PANIC if your child does start choking. Learn what steps you need to take if this does happen by printing the guide above.