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Choking Prevention in Small Children

Table of Contents

Topic Overview

Young children can easily choke on food and everyday objects. You can help prevent your child from choking by offering the right kinds of foods and watching for choking hazards.


Watching how your child eats can also help prevent choking. Teach your child to eat only in the kitchen and dining room. Be sure that your child sits down while eating and that he or she chews carefully. Don't force your child to eat when he or she isn't hungry. These practices also help your child to develop healthy eating habits.

To prevent your child from choking, use care when you select and prepare food. Do not give round, firm foods to children younger than age 4 unless the food is chopped completely.1 Foods that can be choking hazards include:

Prepare food for young children in ways that reduce their risk of choking. Learn to safely prepare:

Don't allow your child to eat while he or she is walking, running, riding in a car, or playing.

Toys and other objects

Teach your child not to put objects in his or her mouth. The following objects may cause choking in young children.

Test small objects by passing them through a toilet-paper tube. If they fit inside, they could become lodged in the throat of a young child.



  1. Committee on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics (2010). Policy statement: Prevention of choking among children. Pediatrics, 125(3): 601–607. Also available online:

Other Works Consulted

Credits for Choking Prevention in Small Children

Current as of: February 10, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Susan C. Kim MD - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
John Pope MD - Pediatrics

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