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.
Having to take special care of the kids at home and ensuring that they don’t play with some objects and meals that will get them choked is something every parent should always be doing. I could recall when my little sister, then swallowed a meat bone and it hung on her neck. We had to go to the hospital that night and it was a bad experience for everyone.
It is the parents’ responsibility to ensure that a child will not be in any danger because accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. And yes, you’re right, an accident is always a bad experience for anyone involved or affected.
Yeah right, assuring that dangerous/ harmful things must kept away from the child is one of the most important responsibility of a mum. Children are fragile gifts of God so they must handle them with tender loving care.
You’re right, Abe. Parents or adults in charge of caring for toddlers should ensure that harmful/dangerous objects are hidden somewhere safe, away from the grabbing hands of toddlers. As I often say, every home should be childproofed because their safety is a top concern.
You might be surprised but our toddler actually did choke on the Pretzel Goldfish Crackers once at my mother’s house. She was babysitting him and he put too many in his mouth… that is when the choking started. Luckily, she was right next to him and everything was fine.
But this just shows how careful we must be when supervising children. You can turn around for a few seconds and they’re already stuffing something in their mouth. We should be heavily aware of what we leave them with and always be careful!
That is indeed a great thing that your mom was next to him when that happened and nothing serious came out of it. We do have to be very careful when choosing what food to give to our kids and the quantity of it. I guess we really have to be there for them every second or to prevent these kind of problems in the future. Toddlers are very prone to choking so it’s very important that we have to keep track of every single thing that they’re doing.
I agree a quick glimpse might cause the life of you child already. So parents have to be quick to respond in situations like these and never panic because the life you are saving could be your own kid already.
No parent should leave toddlers unattended because they are so active and move quickly, and before we know it, they have grabbed something and put it in their mouth or sent something crashing on the floor… That is why I always tell other parents with young kids to be very watchful.
Indeed! Parents should also consider learning Heimlich maneuver. It’s a first aid procedure in dislodging obstruction from one’s windpipe. The proper way of doing this is important knowledge for parents to acquire considering toddlers are really prone to choking. Being there guarding the child the whole time is great, but I believe that it’s best that this is learned just in case of emergencies.
I totally agree with you about learning the Heimlich maneuver. Adults working or taking care of kids should know this technique because it’s a lifesaver.
I agree very much with this article. i think babies can very easily choke on these without knowing. especially jewelery!
Definitely! If we don’t want to be in such a situation the best thing to do for a parent is simply be attentive and try to be careful. But if we missed things out be sure to be ready and not to panic in emergency situation for this can save your own child.
Indeed, babies can easily choke so it is very important to accident-proof our homes. It’s the best thing we can do to prevent choking and other accidents. We must always be careful and mindful if we have small kids in the house.
It is very necessary for parents to keep note of these things, especially for those have toddlers. At this age, kids are really orally fixated and tends to put almost everything they get their hands on inside their mouth. It is very harmful obviously, and children have to kept track of all the time.
I never realized that hot dogs could actually cause choking, so it’s great that I got to read this article. Bean bag chairs are one of the most common stuff parents buy for their children without realizing the potential hazard of this. Pacifiers have to be frequently checked by the parents for the tendency of it being broken off and dislodge on their children’s throat.
You’re so right about toddlers being orally fixated. That is why we must keep all choking hazards out of children’s reach. This reminds me of a Facebook post I’ve read about a child having ingested a round battery used in toys. Apparently, this kind of stuff is very toxic when ingested.
That is awful! Is the kid okay? Did he survive? Parents have to be cautious and aware of the things they put on tables are anywhere else in their house that toddlers could easily reach. I have this family friend whose wife takes slimming pills. One time, she forgot to put it in a higher place and their daughter ingested about most contents of the bottle. It affected her mental growth and now that she’s a young adult, it can still be observed that the way she speaks, talks and acts is still far from normal. It’s just awful because the incident would have obviously been prevented if the parents were careful enough.
That is so sad regarding your family friend’s kid. Yes, if her parents were extra careful, that incident might not have happened.
As for the kid I talked about, he/she survived but reportedly sustained internal injuries. Apparently, the battery has a chemical component that gets activated when it gets in contact with body fluids or something like that.
I agree! There are many choking hazards that we may be aware but is just too lenient and busy. That we tend to ignore things around at most times. I recently saw that viral video of a kid choking a penny inside the bus. Luckily the female bus driver was too quick to respond and was able to save the kid. I just couldn’t imagine If she panicked were most of us do. So, In conclusion anything small that can easily fit into babies or toddlers mouth is dangerous. Being careful is not even enough!!! Parents need to be prepared, attentive and knowledgeable in cases of emergencies like these especially in dealing with babies and toddlers not only in choking.
You’re so right, jojo. Presence of mind is very important when faced with accidents, whether it involves children or adults, because panic can only make things worse.
I totally agree with you that parents/adults should not only be careful but should also be “prepared, attentive and knowledgeable in cases of emergencies”.
Wow! Every parents, either, with a newborn baby, toddler or expecting needs to know these facts about the common choking hazard.
Parents, especially the direct caregivers, should maintain a free- accident- choking- area for the children, because accidents are everywhere and everyone (yep! not just the parents or family) should be well aware of. this
I would just like to point out, that as much as this article helps a lot, I think we also need to learn Basic Life Support. It is not mandatory, but I think it is essential when dealing the safety of the babies. Regardless, everyone can learn BLS through a proper trained facility. Once learned and trained, you’ll not just be guarding your baby’s safety but also everyone else in your area.
That’s true, pillow080207. If adults can learn Basic Life Support, it would be very helpful in cases like this. Parents should strive to gain such training if they have the luxury of time. It would definitely save a life.
It’s amazing how well toddlers learn through experience. Children love to eat , of course , like many of us they tend to just shove food in their mouthes. They don’t necessarily take the time to process their food or chew their food . That’s where we come in ; the adults . What we allow in our children’s mouth should be made sure not to be a choking hazard for their little throats !
True, Shanae. Kids do tend to shove food or things into their mouths so we should be very watchful. Parents should be mindful when buying food for their kids because it might be a choking hazard. It’s the adult’s responsibility to know which foods are safe or not because a child will never know this. Add to this the fact that at a young age, their mouth is their primary tool for observing the things around them that is why they put everything in their mouths to get a “feel” of it.
Simply keep an eye on the baby. If you can invest for a couple of good CCTV cameras, since we cannot be perfectly be in the child’s presence all the time, this would be a good thing. Specially keep out all the small stuffs so we got to clean and check all our surroundings inside home and also importantly when we are outside cause we will never know what are the things around there that our little curious babies might pick and play on their mouths.
CCTV cameras would surely help monitor babies but when they’re at the toddler stage, I wouldn’t recommend leaving them alone even for just a few seconds because they move fast and could easily get hold of things that they can put on their mouths. So as you said, we should always clean and check our surroundings.
This was a very good post. As parents we have to be very careful what we allow small children access to. They could get ahold of it ao quickly so this was a reminder we need to be mindful. Thank you.
Being alert and mindful is truly the key to keeping babies and toddlers safe. It only takes a few seconds for them to quickly grab something and put it into their mouths. Any adult in charge of a kid must keep these tips in mind to avoid accidents/injuries.
Thank you for this very informative and helpful post. Commonly, parents doesn’t see food as a hazard, but in reality, it is one of the most common thing that leads children especially toddlers to experience chocking.
That’s true, kammy. Other parents are not aware that food can be hazardous; not just a choking hazard actually. They could also be causes of severe allergic reactions. That is why when it comes to babies and toddlers, parents should be very careful with what they feed their kids.
Giving birth to a child is not the most difficult part but the actual nurturing and taking care of the child until he or she is in adolescent age is where the main difficulty is. To live in constant worries about the well being of one’s child is not easy at all.
When they feed, you have to worry about them getting choked with what they eat. If they are playing, you worry about them getting serious injuries from either falling or getting poked in the eyes by their peer groups.
All these are reason why, when I see an irresponsible and disrespectful kid who doesn’t care for his or her parents, it breaks my heart, knowing full well what such parent went through to bring that child up.
Yes, I guess that’s true – it’s child-rearing that is most challenging because you have to be really watchful and mindful to keep them safe. When they’re still in the womb, things are not that complicated yet because the baby is safely tucked in there, however, once the baby is delivered, that’s when the actual challenge starts.
And yes, most kids these days do not appreciate their parents’ efforts. They only care about their own “worries” in life and even go to the extent of disrespecting their parents.
Peanuts are also a major hazard. In fact, I know of one kid that needed a major operation due to them. However, though, peanuts can seem harmless so you should be on the lookout. Anyway, I would have never thought they would have been a threat had I not accidentally heard about it.
So true, Jason76. I only learned of it as a cause of allergy when I brought one of my kids to a pedia due to asthma, and I was told to not give my kid peanuts. It could really be fatal for some with severe allergic reactions. Parents should really educate themselves of important info like this, especially if they have a family history of allergies.
Mother’s are the superheroes to our children for lifetime. It’s the most rewarding job and incomparable source of happiness. Most of common incidents to toddlers is choking. Why? Because this is thr time they really grasp whatever and they put into their mouth. So we need full attention to them when playing. Foods given should be in small bites, try to cut fruits and vegetables in smaller pieces. When playing with them, avoid wearing jewelry as much as possible specially the colored ones, these attracts them. Tying your hair if you have long one is needed to avoid grasping and biting of hair when you are carrying them. It’s part of hygienic practices as well. Always remember safety is our priority.
I totally agree that safety is our priority. Parents should be watchful and mindful at all times, and should always think of safety. Thank you for sharing additional tips as well, sweetpot81.