Always been neurotic about choking and my kids…You can ask any of the other moms I hang out with..they will agree…”Yes, Mary, you are neurotic about choking.” I worry when they serve hotdogs at the French school cafeteria, worry when one of the parents brings grapes in for the morning “gouter” for my 3-year-old’s class, worry when my kids are running around at a party eating popcorn and hard candy. I just worry that one of my children might choke and I won’t be there to save them. Yes, I’m neurotic! But, choking is the leading cause of death in infants and one of the leading causes of death for children over one year of age.
All of my kids have “choked” or gagged on something in their short lives already. Even tonight, my 3 year old severely choked on a piece of hard candy while running around having fun at a Chinese New Year party. I could feel it was going to happen…I saw the “bonbon” in her mouth…me running after her to get it away from her. Two minutes later…”my gosh, she is choking!”…no sound…red face..gagging a bit, occasional cough (I knew this was a good sign-at least she could breath I thought). Finally, what seemed like eternity, her gagging reflex worked..she vomited and out came that hard candy. She was “traumatized” and my hands couldn’t stop shaking!
Always in a state of panic some of us panic…the best reaction to choking? Watch your child..are they gagging? The gagging reflex is very strong, most of the time this will push the piece out. The ideal way to prevent choking on foods is to limit choking hazards. Here are the main choking foods for kids under 3: hotdogs, grapes, popcorn, hard candy, baby carrots, nuts.
Again, my friends think I am neurotic…but with hotdogs I always cut the hotdog length-wise first and then slice it. Grapes you can give to under 3 year olds, but cut them too. Baby carrots, cut small enough could be given to toddlers that have a good set of teeth. Popcorn, hard candy and nuts shouldn’t be given at all to children under 3 years old. And don’t let young children eat alone or run around while eating any of these foods.
Lastly, ZEN when eating with young children around the table. I am not advocating being “neurotic” about choking foods like me. Just know what foods to cut well or avoid with young children. Watch that they don’t run around at parties with these foods in their mouths. And know what to do if they choke. Buono Appetito!