Babies and toddlers tend to put every small thing they find into their mouths. While small objects can cause choking, food is a big danger too. To minimise the risk of choking, always feed your child in an upright position. Do not try to force your child to eat. If your child is crying or miserable and is refusing food, the risk of choking is greater. Always stay near to your child during meal times; this allows you to monitor the situation and react quickly if there is a choking emergency.
Be careful what kind of food you give your baby. Small children will very often swallow without chewing, so avoid the following food: peanuts, raw vegetables that require chewing with a grinding motion, round firm food that is not chopped up, grapes, raisins and hotdogs. Proper chewing is only mastered by children at the age of four, so avoid serving your child food that needs grinding until then. Food must be cut into small pieces and you must teach your child to chew before swallowing.
Small objects, such as buttons, marbles, safety pins, coins, balloons and stones are potential choking hazards. Keep your house clean and make sure no small items are lying around in your baby's reach. Mobile phones that are small enough to fit in your baby's mouth must be kept out of reach, as well as containers of baby powder – the lid can dislodge and the powder can easily cause a blockage in your little one's windpipe.