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Infants and kids should not be left alone especially with small objects around, whether that be food or toys, as they could swallow it whole and choke on it. One mom learned this the hard way. 

In a recent Finlee and Me facebook post, an Australian blogger and health clinician, named Angela, shared this picture of an astonishing x-ray image of a lodged grape in a 5-year-old’s lung.

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In Angela’s post, she writes, “This sweet soul had to be operated on under general anesthesia to remove the grape. He is VERY lucky that part of his airway was open or else this could have ended badly. So please be mindful that not all kids chew their food, are in a rush at school to get in the playground, etc. Please be careful. And when in doubt, just cut the damn grapes, baby tomatoes, etc.”

According to WebMD, choking is the fourth leading cause of accidental death in children under five. You should always supervise your children when they eat, even after their toddler years. 

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Foods to Avoid Giving Your Child:

  • Nuts and seeds such as peanuts or sunflower seeds- they could swallow it whole and choke
  • Raw cherries with pits- they could swallow and choke on the pit
  • Round hard candies such as jelly beans
  • Gum
  • Whole grapes or cherry tomatoes- unless you cut them into quarters  
  • Marshmallows and popcorn
  • Chunks of meat or cheese
  • Chunks of peanut butter

The following are other common choking hazards infants and young children should stay away from:

  • Balloons
  • Coins
  • Marbles
  • Toys with small parts to it
  • Toys that could fit in a child’s mouth
  • Pen or marker caps

 How to Safe-Snack

  • Fruits such as apples, bananas, peaches etc. should be thinly sliced.
  • Dried fruits such as apples, dates, and prunes should be either pitted and/or cut up into pieces.
  • Vegetables like carrots, green beans, sweet potatoes etc. should be well cooked and diced.
  • Small fruits and vegetables like grapes or cherry tomatoes should be cut in half or quarters
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For a more precise measurement, make sure the food is cut into pieces no larger than one-half inch. This way, if your child does swallow it whole, they won’t choke on it.

Other Ways to Prevent Choking Hazards For Children

  • Avoid letting your child eat in the car- it’s hard to keep track of your child in the back seat when you are driving. Sudden stops or turns can also increase choking risk. 
  • Avoid letting your child eat while walking around- they should be seated so that you can ensure they are upright while eating.

What’s The Best Way to Save a Choking Child?

Choking Hazard

Choking is much quieter than people expect. If someone is coughing loudly, they are still able to breathe, however, a blocked airway will prevent the choking person from speaking or crying out. Do not administer first aid unless a person is unable to breathe; simply stand next to them and encourage them to keep coughing while carefully monitoring them.

Someone who is choking may clutch their throat, very quietly cough or wheeze, and can eventually lose consciousness. If someone is showing these signs, ask them if they can breathe and have someone else call 911 immediately; once the airway is obstructed you can’t waste any time.

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Choking First Aid for Adults

  1. Get the choking person to lean forward, supporting their chest with your hand.
  2. Deliver sharp blows with the heel of your hand between their shoulder blades.
  3. If their airways are still blocked, deliver the Heimlich (J-thrust) by planting your feet widely behind them, holding your hands in a fist under their ribcage and pushing inwards and upwards (in the shape of a J).

Choking First Aid for Small Children

  1. Place the child face down across your lap.
  2. Deliver sharp blows with the heel of your hand between their shoulder blades.
  3. If their airways are still blocked, deliver the Heimlich by kneeling behind them, holding your hands in a fist under their ribcage and pushing inwards and upwards (in the shape of a J).

Choking First Aid for Infants

  1. While seated, hold the infant face down on your lap, carefully supporting their had with your hand (do not place your hand over their throat).
  2. Deliver sharp blows with the heel of your hand to the middle of their back.
  3. If their airways are still blocked, hold them face up and body angled head-downwards on your lap, always supporting their head.  Use the heel of your hand to deliver chest thrusts to the lower sternum.

You can take a CPR class so that if this were to ever happen to anyone, you can perform CPR on them while you wait for the paramedics. 

  1. Healthychildren.org. (n.d.). Selecting Snacks for Toddlers. Retrieved April 25, 2017, from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/nutrition/Pages/Selecting-Snacks-for-Toddlers.aspx
  2. Healthychildren.org. (n.d.). Feeding & Nutrition Tips: Your 2-Year-Old. Retrieved April 25, 2017, from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/nutrition/Pages/Feeding-and-Nutrition-Your-Two-Year-Old.aspx
  3. Choking Hazard Safety. (n.d.). Retrieved April 25, 2017, from http://www.nationwidechildrens.org/choking-hazard-safety
  4. WebMD. (n.d.). X-Ray Photo Shows Dangers of Eating Grapes for Kids. Retrieved April 26, 2017, from http://www.webmd.com/children/features/xray-photo-shows-dangers-of-eating-grapes-for-kids
  5. https://patient.info/doctor/choking-and-foreign-body-airway-obstruction-fbao

Image source:

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