No parent wants to think about their baby or toddler choking. It's scary and fraught with feelings of helplessness. Even if you take the time to learn CPR, you can also learn how to prevent choking in toddlers and babies so you'll never have to use that skill.
How do you tell if your baby or toddler is choking? They may try to cough but it is weak and ineffective. They won't be able to talk. There may be noisy breathing or high-pitched sounds when they inhale. If the item is not removed they could begin turning blue or pass out.
The easiest way to prevent choking in toddlers and babies may seem too simple. You can avoid many choking problems by cutting food very small or mashing it so it won't lodge in their throat. If the food is smaller than the windpipe it won't be able to get stuck.
Find one of those plastic tubes which indicate the size of the throat. These are sold with infant safety items. Just in case you can't find one of these items, have a toilet paper tube handy. If something will easily fit into a toilet paper tube it's small enough for a child to choke on.
Another way to ensure your child doesn't choke is to only allow them to eat while seated in their designated seat. You'll also want to avoid letting them eat while seated in their car seat as these cause them to recline which may encourage choking. Requiring that they sit in their seat may mean they want you to sit with them, but sitting with them will also ensure you're available if they do have a problem.
Wait until your child is older before you allow them to eat hard candy, grapes, peanuts or hot dogs. When you do give these foods to your children it is best to cut them up in small pieces so they can't get lodged in your child's windpipe.
Ask older children to be sure they put up their toys when they're finished playing. This is particularly important for toys which have little parts. Coins, marbles and super balls are other items which will need to be put up out of the little one's reach.
If your baby or toddler is mobile, placing baby gates to keep them out of some rooms might also be helpful. This is one way to ensure they don't get into their older sibling's toys or into areas which haven't been baby proofed yet. Baby gates will also keep them away from other dangers such as the trash can in the kitchen.
Common sense is one way to keep your child from choking. Keep items which are bigger than their airway out of reach and cut foods up in small pieces. If learning how to prevent choking in toddlers or babies isn't enough and the unthinkable happens, make sure you or anyone babysitting knows the Heimlich maneuver and CPR.