The Biggest Choking Hazards for Toddlers
When my daughter started eating solids, I was terrified and overwhelmed with how many foods are choking hazards for toddlers. I finally started to learn the pattern to which foods were dangerous and why. Foods that are the size of the airway, roundish, slippery, dense, or foods that can mold to fit the shape of the airway (aka taffy) are the types of foods to look out for.
Here is a list of the top foods you might not know are choking hazards for your toddler. At the end of the article, I even included a little bonus – my trick to test if foods are choking hazards for my daughter.
The tube-shape of hot dogs makes it easy for them to get caught in your toddler’s throat. It’s safest to cut them lengthwise and into small pieces if you wish to serve them to your little one.
Bananas are a great, healthy treat for your toddler – as long as they’re prepared correctly. I slice them in half and then cut them into quarters lengthwise to serve them safely to my two-year-old.
Nuts & Seeds
Toddlers aren’t the best at chewing, and nuts and seeds might get stuck in their throats. It’s best to wait to give your toddler whole nuts and seeds until they are four or older.
Whole Grapes & Berries
Toddlers love grapes, but they can be a choking hazard if they’re not prepared correctly. Make sure to cut them lengthwise and quarter them, so your toddler can enjoy a safe snack.
Chunks of Meat
Meat is a choking hazard for toddlers if it isn’t cut up into small enough pieces. Be sure to cut the meat into small pieces, but avoid cutting the meat into strips because toddlers can easily bite off more than they can chew.
The roundish shape and slippery texture of cheese sticks make them a choking hazard for toddlers if they’re not cut (or pulled into strings) lengthwise. To be on the safe side, cut them in half as well before serving them to your little one.
Large Chunks of Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is dense and will mold to the shape of your child’s airway. It’s ok to give your little one peanut butter; just be sure to spread it thinly on bread and crackers, etc.
Uncut Grape Tomatoes
Like grapes, grape tomatoes are a choking hazard because of their smoothness and round shape that fits easily into the airway. Cut them lengthwise and into quarters, so your toddler can enjoy them risk-free.
The moldable texture and small-ish size of marshmallows makes them yet another food your toddler could choke on. If you decide to allow your little one to have marshmallows, cut them into tiny pieces, or better yet, wait until your toddler is over four to give her those sweet, sticky treats.
Chewing gum is the kind of texture that can mold itself to your toddler’s airway, and toddlers don’t understand that gum is to be chewed but not swallowed. It’s best to wait until your little one is at least five before allowing her to try gum.
Sucking on hard candy makes it all too easy for little ones to accidentally inhale the candy and choke on it. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not allowing children under four to have hard candy.
Like with nuts and seeds, popcorn requires a lot of chewing and might be hard for your toddler to handle. It’s best to wait until your little one is four to snack on popcorn during movie nights.
How I Tell What is a Choking Hazard
I found this nifty device on Amazon that lets you check food, toys, and pretty much anything you want to see if it’s a choking hazard for your toddler. I have one, and it gives me so much peace of mind!
First Aid for Choking Emergencies
Comment below if you think of any more foods that are choking hazards for toddlers, and share this with your friends and family.
If you liked this article, check out my ideas on Top 17 Superfoods for Toddlers & How to Serve them.