Be careful of big globs of food, such as golf ball-sized, pasty globs of white bread or spoonfuls of peanut butter. Even though these foods are soft, babies can choke on them. Don’t spread peanut butter too thick, and monitor how quickly the bread gets packed into the mouth. The more whole grains in a bread, the less likely it is to form a pasty glob.
Check the chunks. Once baby’s molars appear (usually around the middle of the second year), chunky soft fruits (such as fruit cocktail-type size and texture) are safe.
Chop soft food into small pieces: sausages, large pieces of meat, gummy candy, caramels and so on.
Hold the hot-dogs. Since hotdogs are neither nutritious nor safe for baby, you can scratch them from the diet. If you are fortunate enough to find a healthy hotdog (nitrite-free, low in salt), slice it lengthwise in thin, noodle-like strips. Don’t let your toddler bite chunks off a hotdog, since a hotdog chunk is about the size of a baby’s windpipe.
Allow toddlers finger foods only under supervision.
Be sure babysitters and older siblings know which foods to avoid giving to younger children.
Children should stay seated as they eat and are not lying down or running around. Choose snacks for the car carefully.
Avoid hard foods and raw fruits and vegetables that snap into hard chunks, such as carrot and celery sticks, firm apples, nuts, popcorn, gum, hard candy, sunflower seeds, orange seeds, cherry pits, and watermelon seeds.
Peel and slice grapes. Whole grapes can cause choking.
Gum should not be chewed while playing sports.
Crying or laughing with a full mouth should be discouraged.
Don’t allow children to fill their cheeks with food like a chipmunk.
Teach children to chew food adequately before swallowing.
It’s best to avoid the following foods in younger children. Most children under the age of 4 don’t understand the need to chew thoroughly or to spit the item out.
- cherries with pits
- candy, hard
- hot dog, whole chunks
- popcorn kernels
- raw apples, pears, carrots, beans
- stringy foods
- whole olives
- whole grapes