Kids love to bite off more than they can chew, and if you have youngsters in your house, choking should always be a serious concern. Children four years and younger are at the highest risk of choking, but it could happen at any age. Regardless of how old your children are or how fast/slow they scarf down their food, you should always be aware of choking hazards.
Kids can choke on just about anything, but there are certain foods that seem to get caught in tiny throats more often. We’re not saying you should completely eliminate these foods from your child’s diet, but it is smart to take extra special care when you’re serving them to young kids. Make sure food is cut into small pieces, and never leave children unsupervised during meals.
Here are the top 8 foods children most often choke on. Some of them might surprise you!
#1 – Hot Dogs
For one reason or another, hot dogs are always a big hit with kids. Maybe it’s because they’re easy to hold in small hands or the fact kids associate them with things like baseball games and carnivals. Either way, kids love hot dogs, and that kind of enthusiasm can cause problems. Kids tend to stuff as much hot dog into their mouths as possible, and the shape of the food, and the fact it can compress, make it a dangerous choking hazard.
When hot dogs are on the menu—whether it’s at home or somewhere else—take the time to cut them up lengthwise and into small bite-size pieces.
#2 – Carrots
#3 – Apples
Apples are a lot like carrots in the fact that they’re great for your kid’s health, but not so great when it comes to preventing a choking accident. It takes a decent amount of jaw strength to bite right into a crisp apple, and small kids often take bites that are too big for them to handle. Instead of giving your child a whole apple to eat, cut it up into small pieces.
#4 – Hard Candies
Those hard candies from grandma’s house sure taste good, but they’re actually some of the most dangerous foods you could pick. They’re the ideal size for getting stuck in your throat, and once they’re slick with saliva, they can easily slip down a child’s throat by accident.
You can’t cut them up into safe pieces, so it’s best to avoid this choking hazard altogether. Maybe grandma can invest in chocolate bars instead.
#5 – Marshmallows
Marshmallows are delicious whether you eat them right out of the bag or toast them over a campfire. The trouble comes in when you give them whole to young kids. Marshmallows are soft and malleable, and they easily conform to block a child’s airway. Melted marshmallow isn’t as dangerous—it’s mostly just sticky.
#6 – Chewing Gum
Learning to blow bubbles with chewing gum is a rite of passage for kids of a certain age. But like marshmallows, gum can easily get stuck in a child’s mouth and block their airway. There’s no real way to make gum less dangerous, so it’s best to hold off on allowing gum chewing until your kids are older.
#7 – Popcorn
While delicious, popcorn isn’t a good choice for kids under four years old. With a combination of hard kernels and the softer side of popped corn, it’s a tricky snack to eat. Kids still getting the hang of eating different textures can easily choke. Stick to other kinds of salty snacks until they’re older.
#8 – Nuts
Mixed nuts fall under the same category as apples and raw vegetables. They’re not the worst things your kids could choose to eat, but there are definite reason to be cautious. Young kids don’t have all their teeth yet, and that means they’re not great at chewing. They don’t have the ability to grind food with fully grown molars, and this creates a choking hazard. Always supervise if your child is eating nuts, or better yet, wait until they’re at least four years old.