The minute you bring baby home, you’re constantly aware of the potential hazards around the home. You’ve likely spent hours baby-proofing the house, making sure anything dangerous is kept well out of reach. However, as many parents have unfortunately found out, there’s some potentially serious choking hazards you might not have even considered.
Here, we’ll look at 10 of the most surprising choking hazards for babies and toddlers every parent should be aware of.
1. Pretzel Goldfish Crackers
Designed for children, you’d think these popular pretzel goldfish crackers would be a safe snack for your little one. However, did you know they’re practically the exact same width as your toddler’s mouth? Unlike the traditional goldfish crackers, this pretzel variety is also a lot harder. This means they can easily become lodged in your child’s throat.
So, if you’re looking for a cracker based snack, it’s best to avoid pretzel varieties.
2. Hot Dogs
Hot dogs are soft and delicious, so surely, they couldn’t be a potential choking hazard? Surprisingly, hot dogs are one of the most common foods which lead to choking in babies and toddlers. The main reason is apparently the way the hot dogs are cut. Before you chop them into smaller pieces, they should first be sliced lengthways. If they’re cut into the more popular, tiny round shapes, they form the perfect shape to get stuck in your little one’s throat.
Ok, so this one might not sound so surprising, but if you have an older child who frequently plays with LEGO, you’ll want to watch out. Babies and toddlers love LEGO, but when left unsupervised, it almost always leads to choking. Many parents have had a lot of near misses with LEGO bricks due to how easy it is to miss a piece when tidying up.
So, if you have an older child who plays with LEGO, it’s best to designate one room for them to play with it, where your younger child doesn’t venture into. Or, only allow them to play with the LEGO bricks if your baby or toddler is asleep. Then, make absolutely certain every last piece is accounted for.
Of course, LEGO doesn’t just pose a serious choking hazard; it’s also extremely painful to step on!
4. Broken Bottles Or Pacifiers
Did you know baby could choke on pacifiers and feeding bottles? The nipples can wear down over time, causing small pieces to start to break away. As you know, a baby’s sucking reflex can be pretty powerful. This means, if the teat of the pacifier or the bottle is slightly damaged, the sucking motion could easily break off a piece large enough to get stuck in baby’s throat. Always check there are no signs of damage before placing the nipple in your little one’s mouth.
Whether it’s for you or your little one, jewelry can pose a serious choking hazard. Have you ever noticed baby grabbing for your necklace and trying to put it in their mouth? It’s a natural instinct and it may look cute, but it can get lodged in baby’s throat. Tiny pieces could break off while your little one is chewing on it. So, when holding baby, it’s best to take off any necklaces or bracelets.
You’ll also want to check you don’t leave any jewelry lying around. Toddlers are drawn to anything in reach, so make sure any jewelry is kept out of sight, as well as out of reach.
Obviously, whole grapes pose a choking hazard, but many parents don’t realize they can still be dangerous when cut in half. Ideally, it’s better to serve grapes cut up into quarters. However, if you do want to cut them in half, it’s safer to do it vertically, rather than horizontally. So, think of it like cutting a hot dog bun.
7. Slices Of Tangerines
Tangerines are a popular healthy snack choice for parents, but they’re also surprisingly dangerous for toddlers. The small segments may seem safe enough, but like the pretzel goldfish crackers, these slices can be the width of your toddler’s throat. They’re also pretty tough to chew, despite the fact they feel super-soft for adults.
When serving up tangerine slices, it’s a good idea to cut each segment in half.
8. The Corners Of Milk Bags
To open milk bags, you typically need to cut off the corner. What you might not know is these cut-off corners are a common choking hazard for babies and toddlers. CPR instructors warn against leaving these corners lying around as they can easily be inhaled or swallowed. The trouble is, if they are ingested, they can block the airway and it would be difficult to remove them even using the Heimlich maneuver.
9. Round Batteries
A lot of household items require round batteries, so it’s common for parents to have a lot of spares hanging around. These batteries, especially the smaller ones, are a significant choking hazard. They’re also doubly dangerous due to the acid contained within them. So, be sure to keep any batteries, large, small, round or rectangular, out of your child’s reach.
10. Bean Bag Chairs
Ok, so it’s not the actual chair that’s dangerous, it’s the tiny pellet filling. If the bag rips, your little one could easily eat the pellets, causing them to choke. For this reason, even if it seems there’s a very minimal risk of your child getting to the pellets, it’s best not to allow them to play on one.
Overall, there are many choking hazards you may not be aware of. However, the above are 10 of the most common which parents often discover the hard way. It’s important to remember, any advice given in respect to the health of your little one should be taken as guidance only. If you have any concerns, it’s highly advised you seek advice from a doctor or pediatrician.