Foods That Cause Choking
Choking on food kills as many children each year as accidental poisonings. Alert yourself to the dangerous foods.
- First: Most children under 4 years of age can't chew hard foods and don't understand that they need to spit them out. Hard foods are commonly choked upon and aspirated into the lungs. The most dangerous foods are nuts. We recently saw a child with almonds in her lungs because her babysitter offered her part of her chocolate almond bar. Other dangerous foods are raw carrots and celery, which never should be used for teething. Other foods of concern are popcorn, sunflower seeds, and watermelon seeds.
- Second: Large, soft foods can cause fatal choking by completely blocking the wind pipe. The most common offenders are hot dogs, sausages, and grapes. These should be chopped up before serving.
- Third: Warn babysitters and older siblings not to share these foods with small children. And, remind people of all ages not to run or play sports with gum or other material in their mouths.
- Finally: The emergency response to severe choking is the Heimlich maneuver. Have your healthcare provider demonstrate this to you or take an approved first-aid course.
If you have other questions about dangerous solid foods, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 6/1/2000
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.