Once your little one can grab things, you’ll notice that anything and everything may end up in their mouths! Be mindful that anything smaller than a D size battery, or smaller than the circumference of a 20c coin can become lodged in the windpipe. Reduce choking hazards around the home by considering the following:
Encourage your little one to sit down to eat solid foods. Help them practise thorough chewing and mindful, slow eating. Supervising is always a good idea.
Avoid small or circular foods. Cut up grapes or cherry tomatoes, for instance, and cut sausages into long strips. Nuts can be a hazard so always watch to make sure your little one chews these safely.
Try mashing or grating harder foods when you can. Cut food, meat in particular, into an appropriate size for your little one to chew well.
Toys with removable parts can be dangerous for young children. Be mindful when choosing toys; could their eyes or ears fall off easily? Do they have moving parts, breakable parts or brittle surfaces that could easily break off and be accidentally swallowed? Is the toy getting old and falling apart? Avoid toys with button batteries and check for any loose screws or buttons. Dispose of plastic wrapping, zip ties, or any packaging immediately.
Keep anything small out of baby’s reach! Avoid leaving bags on the ground. Pick up anything you may drop like a pen lid or button straight away. Assess your home frequently, and consider what is within your child’s reach; if it is small enough to swallow, move or remove the object.
Strings and cords:
If you have blinds or curtains with strings, tape them high up the wall or wrap them up out of your baby’s reach.
Avoid any clothing with drawstrings, or removable parts such as ribbons, buttons or sequins.
How can I tell if my child is choking?
You may find that your child begins to gag on some foods, particularly when first switching to solids. If they can cough well and recover quickly, they may just be gagging.
If coughing seems to be ineffective, or your little one goes blue in the face, it could be time to call 000. It’s also a good idea to take a first aid course so you can help your child should they swallow something dangerous.
Teach safe from not safe
Point out which objects are safe and not safe to play with. As your baby gets older, they can begin to understand the difference and will slowly develop better judgement. Until then, be cautious about what objects your little one can access and keep a close eye on them when they are playing, eating or exploring.