Choking Risk Among Children

(CNN) — Young children, from infancy until age 5, are particularly at risk of choking. Not only do they have small airways, but it also takes several years to master the ability to chew and swallow food.

It’s very important to avoid foods that are hard or round or slippery. Examples include whole grapes, hard candy, chunks of hotdogs or other meat.

Sticky foods such as peanut butter and marshmallows should also be avoided. Also don’t give young children popcorn, raw carrots or nuts. Uninflated or broken balloons are also a choking hazard.

“Be very careful about batteries, especially button batteries, coins, magnets, any toys with small parts,” said pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Shu. “If a toy can fit inside a toilet paper roll, then it’s probably too small for a young child.”

If you suspect your young child is choking, here’s what you should do.

“For an infant under the age of 1 you’d actually lay him face down on your lap and give five back blows,” Dr. Shu said. “If the child is still choking, flip him on his back and you would deliver five chest thrusts.”

For children over the age of one, do an abdominal thrust five times in a row just as you would an adult.

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