Feeding your baby is often a messy experience, but you don’t want it to be a dangerous one. If you use a high chair during feedings, always use the chair’s safety straps to buckle your child in. And before you feed your child, always check the temperature of the food. Never warm your baby’s formula or milk in the microwave. Food or liquids warmed in a microwave may heat unevenly.
Choking is a common cause of injury and death among young children, primarily because their small airways are easily obstructed. It takes time for babies to master the ability to chew and swallow food, and babies may not be able to cough forcefully enough to dislodge an airway obstruction.
Sometimes health conditions increase the risk of choking as well. Children who have swallowing disorders, neuromuscular disorders, developmental delays and traumatic brain injury, for example, have a higher risk of choking than do other children. To prevent infant choking:
- Don’t introduce solids too soon. Giving your baby solid foods before they have the motor skills to swallow them may lead to infant choking. Wait until your baby is at least 4 months old, preferably 6 months old, to introduce pureed solid foods.
- Stay away from high-risk foods. Don’t give babies or young children small, slippery foods, such as whole grapes and hot dogs; dry foods that are hard to chew, such as popcorn and raw carrots; or sticky or tough foods, such as peanut b utter, marshmallows and large pieces of meat.
- Supervise mealtime. Don’t allow your child to play, walk, run or lie down while eating.
Keep in mind that as babies explore their environments, they also commonly put objects into their mouths—which can easily lead to infant choking.
references: Mayo Clinic Guide to your Baby’s First year, 200-01.