Follow these tips to prevent choking in young children:
- Cut food for infants into pieces one-quarter inch or smaller.
- Cut food for toddlers into pieces one-half inch or smaller.
- Ensure that children are always seated when they are eating.
- Supervise children while they are eating to monitor the size of food and to make sure they are eating appropriately not stuffing their mouths full.
- Design and serve a menu that reflects the developmental abilities of the children enrolled in your program.
- Choose sensory table materials that are big enough in size to avoid being a choking hazard.
- Supervise toddlers who are playing with sensory materials.
- Provide children under the age of three with small objects, toys, and toy parts that meet the federal small parts standards.
- Offer children under four years of age foods that are round, hard, small, thick and sticky, smooth, compressible or dense, or slippery.
- Let children be physically active while they are eating.
- Use sensory table materials with children under the age of eighteen months.
- Have plastic bags, coins, marbles, or magnets accessible to children under the age of three.
- Offer toys or objects with removable parts with a diameter less than one and one-quarter inches and a length between one inch and two and one-quarter inches.
- Balls or toys with spherical, egg-shaped, or elliptical parts that are smaller than one and three-quarters inches in diameter.
Examples of these foods are hot dogs and other meat sticks whole or sliced into rounds, raw carrot rounds, whole grapes, hard candy, nuts, seeds, raw peas, hard pretzels, chips, peanuts, popcorn, rice cakes, marshmallows, spoonfuls of peanut butter, and chunks of meat larger than can be swallowed whole.
See the following CFOC3 Standards for more information, references, and resources:
Source: National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education