Parents: Don’t serve your kids another meal until you know the facts about children and choking. According to a new study in the journal Pediatrics, 34 kids a day are admitted to the ER after choking on food. And every six days, at least one kid dies while choking on food, and that’s just the ones we know about. 

Exactly what are kids choking on? Research shows the top three choking hazards for kids are raw carrots, grapes, and hot dogs. In fact, experts say the best engineers in the world couldn’t design a better plug for a child’s airway than a hot dog. Unlike adults, a child’s airway is small and barely wide enough to fit a piece of unchewed hot dog. And the younger they are, the more likely a child is to choke on things like nuts, seeds, cheese and hard candy, which are difficult for small teeth to chew. In fact, that’s why some experts want to see warning labels put on food the same way we have warnings on toys, like marbles and balloons. The reality is more kids choke on food today than on toys. 
So, how can you keep kids safe from choking? 
  • First: Before age four, always cut a child’s food into pieces smaller than half an inch. So for grapes, for example, that means cutting each grape into quarters. 

  • Also never give hard candy to a child until after age four because one in seven choking incidents involve hard candy. 

  • Next, The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all parents take a CPR course, so you’ll know what to do if your child starts to choke. 

  • Finally, if you have older kids, make sure they also know the facts about choking. In one case, an older sibling fed an almond to a baby, and the baby choked to death.