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Who’s at risk?

Although choking deaths are relatively rare, they are higher for infants and toddlers, and the rate goes up considerably for the elderly, starting at age 70.

What you can do to prevent choking:

  • Feed infants only soft foods that don’t require chewing.
  • Don’t give children under age three the following foods: peanuts, popcorn, grapes, chunks of raw vegetables or fruits, marshmallows, or gum.
  • Elderly people may also have difficulty chewing and/or swallowing. If you’re a caregiver, avoid the same types of foods listed above, and cut their food into small pieces. Also avoid meat or fish with bones or skin.
  • Teach children not to talk with a mouth full of food. It’s not only impolite, it can be dangerous!
  • Make sure children are seated while eating, and cut their food into small pieces. Supervise them while they eat.
  • Don’t leave small objects like buttons, beads or coins within reach of infants or small children.
  • Be careful about toys, too. Balloons, balls, and marbles are often swallowed and choked on. And avoid toys with small parts that can break off.
  • Learn the signs of choking: coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing; clutching at the throat; pale or bluish coloring around the mouth and nail beds.
  • Take a first aid course – learn the Heimlich maneuver and CPR.

Content used with permission from the National Safety Council, a membership organization dedicated to protecting life and promoting health.

For more information or to discuss living safely concerns please contact Partners Employee Assistance Program at 1-866-724-4EAP.




This content was last modified on: 05/08/2017

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In case of emergency, please call 911 or your local hospital emergency service.

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