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Preventing Serious Food-Related Choking Incidents and How to Reduce the Risk of a Child Choking when Eating

© ChildForum


Helping adults 2Healthy foods, such as apples can be dangerous for very young children.

A 10 month old died after choking on a piece of apple at her UK nursery in 2006.

A 14 month old attending an NZ early childhood education centre in 2008 died also after he choked on apple.   

You may be surprised what other foods are considered a high choking risk for young children.  

Also we explain how to minimise the risk of children choking when eating in a childcare or preschool setting.


Reduce the Possibility of Choking

Until 3 to 3.6 years of age and until a child has the majority of his/her baby teeth do not provide foods that are considered a high choking risk:

  • sausage/saveloy
  • peanuts
  • raw apple
  • raw carrot
  • grapes
  • popcorn. 

To reduce the risk of choking do not give small pieces of hard food, remove skin and fibres. Give cooked instead of raw apple and carrot. 

A child should have an adult with him/her while eating. The adult should know and have training in what to do if the child chokes.

A child who is eating should not be walking or running around, but should be seated, and focused on eating with minimal distraction so that the child chews food as necessary and does not swallow whole by accident.

Ask parents what foods and in what sized portions their child can safely manage at home. Each child is different.

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