Skip to main content

Learn about COVID-19 testing and treatment. Or how to get vaccinated.

Health library

Back to health library

Choking: Keep little ones safe

A little extra attention can protect your children from choking or suffocating.

Choking is a leading cause of death for kids, but you can take steps to keep your children—particularly those under age 4—safe.

Choking hazards can include foods such as hot dogs, popcorn, hard candy and raw vegetables. And, since young kids tend to put even inedible items in their mouths, other hazards include coins, marbles, uninflated or popped balloons, and rings.

The National Safety Council, the American Academy of Pediatrics and other experts offer the following advice for protecting your child:

  • Make sure small objects, such as buttons, coins and beads, are out of infants' reach.
  • Seat children in a high chair or at a table to eat.
  • Supervise children while they eat. Don't let them eat too fast.
  • Give infants soft foods that don't need to be chewed.
  • Cut other foods for toddlers into bite-size pieces.
  • Keep an eye on your baby during playtime.

If you're unsure if an object is safe, invest in a small-parts tester. You can find these small plastic products for sale online and at many stores.

Also, check the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website regularly to see if any products in your home have been recalled for safety reasons.

Reviewed 8//15/2022

Related stories