Choking Prevention for Safety Professionals

Did you know…

  • Among children treated in emergency rooms for non-fatal choking incidents, almost 60 percent were food-related?
  • Overall, 13 percent of cases involved swallowing coins and 19 percent involved candy or gum?
  • Each year in the U.S., more than 2,800 kids are treated in emergency rooms after swallowing button batteries? That's one child every three hours. The number of serious injuries or deaths as a result of button batteries has increased nine-fold in the last decade.

As a safety professional, you can protect children from choking hazards by educating parents and caregivers to:

  • Look at every room in their home as a child would. Tell parents to ask themselves what looks interesting and what can be reached.
  • Get down on hands and knees to check for small things children can choke on.
  • Be on the look-out for the small batteries used in electronics, as these can be deadly if swallowed. They can get more information about the dangers of button batteries.
  • Cut food for toddlers into tiny pieces. Children under 5 should not eat small, round or hard foods, including pieces of hot dogs, cheese sticks or chunks, hard candy, nuts, grapes, marshmallows or popcorn.
  • Consider a child's age when purchasing a toy or game. It's worth a second to read the instructions and warning labels to make sure it's just right for the child.
  • Before settling on the perfect toy, check to make sure there aren't any small parts or other potential choking hazards.
  • Keep small magnets away from children. These include magnets found in construction sets, children's toys or stress-relieving adult desk toys; refrigerator magnets; and rare earth magnets, such as Buckyballs.
  • Keep cords and strings, including those attached to window blinds, out of a child's reach. For crawlers and climbers, move chairs, cribs and other furniture away from windows to help prevent window falls.

For more information, please visit the following websites: