Choking is downright scary. You've possibly witnessed your infant gagging on breast milk or formula that comes out too quickly, and that was probably enough to send you straight into panic mode. Choking is different, however, and it can be life-threatening. Go through your home and remove or put away any items that could cause your baby to choke, and do it before she's mobile and getting into everything she can get her tiny hands on. If you suspect that your baby could be choking, seek emergency medical help right away.
Food is the most common choking hazards for babies, according to the Mayo Clinic website. Around 6 months of age, most babies begin eating solid foods for the first time, and around 9 months of age, many start eating table foods. These milestones are exciting, but they can put your little one at an increased risk for choking. While most parents try to cut their baby's food into small pieces, many accidentally offer food that is too large, and it becomes a choking hazard. Cut all of your baby's food into tiny pieces, and never offer the top choking risks, which are whole grapes, hot dog rounds, popcorn, hard candies, chunks of meat, chunks of cheese, raw vegetables, nuts, seeds, marshmallows, peanut butter and chewing gum. If you're worried about a particular food, ask your baby's pediatrician before offering it for the first time. Stay in the same room with your baby while she's eating, and watch her closely, too.
Of course toys are educational and entertaining, but don't just hand your baby a toy and get busy doing other things. Most infant toys are pretty durable, but the reality is that they can also break. Small pieces that come loose from a toy can pose a choking hazard, as can broken pieces. Don't offer your baby toys made for older children either, because they can increase the risk of choking, according to the Mayo Clinic site. Read the age recommendations on any toy before letting your baby play with it, and regularly inspect her toys to be sure they are in good repair and that no pieces are cracked, broken or loose. Monitor your older child's playtime, too, so her tiny doll shoes or miniature building blocks aren't where your baby can reach them.
Small Household Objects
As you well know, babies put everything into their mouths. That means you have to be extra diligent about keeping your home safe and free of choking risks. Pick up small pieces of food, such as cereal or pieces of vegetables, that fall on the floor while you're cooking. Your baby might see them and put them in her mouth, which can lead to choking. Don't leave small items, such as buttons, beads, marbles or screws, laying around either, because your curious baby will inevitably stick them straight into her mouth. Keep coins, safety pins, small rocks, marker caps and ink pen lids out of reach, too.
Things You've Never Considered
There are so many things that a baby could choke on that it's crucial to examine any item that could come into her reach critically and carefully. For example, button batteries could pose a choking risk, but they can also cause catastrophic throat and stomach problems. Don't let your baby play with toys that contain button batteries, and don't store them within her reach. Keep balloons out of your baby's reach, as well. The size of a deflated balloon is just right for choking, but playing with an inflated balloon is dangerous, too. The balloon could pop, leaving small pieces that your baby might put into her mouth. Baby powder can cause choking if your little one puts too much into her mouth, so keep it out of reach, too.