Are certain foods unsafe for children?
Yes! Choking is a safety concern especially for children up to the age of four because they are still developing the ability to chew and swallow. Older children have larger windpipes and better cough reflexes. Foods which pose the greatest hazard include: hot dogs, grapes, peanut butter, coin-sliced vegetables, popcorn, nuts, candy and other small, hard foods that can get lodged into a child’s windpipe. Never leave children alone when they are eating. Make sure they are sitting upright, and that they chew and swallow the food in their mouths before speaking or laughing. Learn the signs of choking: ineffective coughing, inability to speak or cry, high-pitched noises, and bluish lips, nails, and skin. Talk to your pediatrician about ways to relieve choking.
Review Making Mealtime Pleasant with Young Children for more information.
Melinda Hemmelgarn, M.S., R.D.,
Nutritional Sciences Specialist, University of Missouri
Last update: Friday, February 06, 2009