The holidays are a time for fun, festivities, and enjoying your friends and family. Much of this time centers around eating together, whether at the office Christmas party or at a relative’s table for Thanksgiving. While you should remain joyous during these times, it is still a good idea to understand when to take a little extra precaution, especially with young children, because many of the most common choking hazards can surprise you.
Read Related: Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe During the Holidays
Hot dogs: Hot dogs are the most dangerous choking hazard due to the round shape and texture that lets them lodge firmly in the airway. Many parents slice hot dogs like a loaf of bread for their children, but this doesn’t really reduce the danger. Before slicing in this way, cut the hotdog in half lengthwise to remove the cylindrical shape.
Hard candy: Hard candy is surprisingly one of the most common choking hazards. While all candy, especially gooey candy like caramels and taffy pose a risk, choking on hard candy is more common. One of the factors increasing the danger of candy is that children are more likely to be walking, running, or playing while they’re eating it. To reduce this risk, have you children sit down whenever they are eating.
Fruit and vegetables: Carrots and grapes are common choking hazards because of their round shape that can completely clog the wind pipe. In order to reduce this risk, quarter grapes and cut carrots in half length-wise before slicing them into smaller pieces, just like you would with a hot dog. Other produce, such as apples and oranges, also are common obstructions, so always consider the size and shape of the pieces you give your children.
Foreign objects: Any small object can become a potentially fatal choking hazard, so be careful to keep things picked up. Be sure to emphasize to children to pick up after themselves, as often during the holidays, there can be lots of children in the house playing with toys that could be dangerous for much smaller children. Also, if you typically don’t have young children in the house, but visiting family will be bringing their young kids, check for potential hazards before they arrive.
Meat and cheese: Pieces of meat and cheese can easily become lodged in a child’s throat, so be careful with the meat and cheese tray. To help prevent this, be sure to have some smaller pieces cut up on the tray for younger kids.
What to look for
Beyond being aware of the potential choking hazards, it’s important to be able to identify a choking victim quickly and know what to do. Clutching the throat with both hands is the standard choking signal and a clear sign they need help. Other indicators include the inability to cough, wheezing or the inability to breath, or a bluish tint to the lips.
A choking victim usually can’t speak, so you might not notice him from another room, which is why you need to be careful if you have a separate kids table in a different room than all the adults.
Improve your emergency skills
To be better prepared for situations like this, consider receiving free, online training in CPR or first aid.
John Perkins works as a marketing manager with OnlineCPRCertification.net and enjoys writing about topics related to health and wellness.