Saturday, May 18, 2024

    5 Healthy Ways To Prevent Children From Choking On Their Food

    One of the ways children explore their world is by putting things in their mouths. Many children in a bid to find out how their environment works use their senses, especially their sense of taste.

    Moreso, when it comes to food, children do not master the chewing technique until they reach the ages of 4-6. Hence, they are more likely to choke on foods that are round or firm.

    Read also: 6 Great Ways To Make Your Kitchen Child-Friendly

    Choking occurs when a child’s airways get blocked. While kids at any age are also at risk of choking, young kids below the age of 6 are often at risk as a result of when they:

    • put small objects into their mouths
    • do not have the back teeth needed to chew and grind lumps of food fully
    • are still learning to eat, chew and swallow
    • may run, play, laugh or cry while there is something in their mouth

    1. Keep food pieces small

    It is important to cut your child’s food pieces into sizes that are smaller than a pea. Bigger pieces will be harder for little children to safely and comfortably swallow. Until your child can chew properly, give them food in smaller chunks. This is because their airways are small, and they are still learning to chew and swallow properly.

    2. Make eating safer

    Young children are still learning to eat. Feeding your child can be tasking, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t guide and supervise as they eat. The back teeth are needed for the complete chewing and grinding of food but most young children do not have this. Always stay close, watch and encourage them to chew their food well and to take their time while eating.

    3. Reduce engagement during eating

    Children love to run around a lot and this may continue if allowed when they eat. However, when children are allowed to engage in other activities like running, playing, laughing or even crying when they eat, they are more prone to choking on their food. Eating should not be dangerous. So, anytime your kids decide to eat, ensure that they sit quietly until they are done.

    4. Avoid force-feeding

    Never force your child to eat especially when he/she is not interested. Doing so may cause them to choke. One of your roles as a parent is to ensure that your kids are fit and healthy, and most times, this is achieved through nourishment from food. However, avoid scolding, cajoling and force-feeding children to eat, instead encourage healthy eating habits.

    5. Always check package labelling

    Some foods like meat, peanut butter, nuts, popcorn, carrots etc can highly increase the rate of choking. However, when it comes to reducing the risk of choking, reading the label on a package can save your child. Always make time to read the label on the packages as many of these foods with an increased risk of choking often come with warning labels. Reading a label is not a waste of your time as it helps you know the nutritional value, as well as the warning risks.

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    Photo credit: Getty

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