One of the risks that a baby is exposed to is choking. Because the child doesn’t yet have the verbal faculties to communicate the problem nor the mental capacity to properly assess as situation, it’s your job as a parent to supervise your child and monitor what he puts in his mouth.
Putting objects in his mouth is a way a baby learns. However, you need to be vigilant that he doesn’t accidentally choke. Here are ways you can reduce your baby’s risk of choking.
- Don’t leave your child unsupervised. When your baby is lying around or sitting down, make sure there isn’t anything within easy reach that he can accidentally put in his mouth and choke on. Inspect toys before you let him play with it. Check his clothes to make sure there are no loose buttons, fasteners or other ornamental pieces that can come off and cause your child to choke. Keep an eye on your child to keep him safe as much as possible. If your child starts coughing, go to him right away to see if there’s anything obstructing his windpipe.
- Check your child’s toys. Before you hand out or buy a toy for your child, check the recommended age on the box of the product. If it’s not advisable for children under three years of age, it means that it can present a choking hazard to younger children. However, even toys that are designed for younger kids should be regularly checked to make sure there are no loose, unscrewed or removable pieces that can easily be swallowed.
- Mash his food properly. When your baby is starting on solids, you need to make sure the food is well grinded. Use a baby food grinder if necessary or puree the food in a food processor. Even chunks of bananas or fruits can cause a baby to choke. Cut up grapes and avoid feeding your child solid chunks of food such as nuts, popcorn, croutons, hard candies and chicken with bone or even hotdog.
- Make sure he is sitting up when eating. When your baby is feeding or eating, prop him up so he is in an upright position. When lying down, a baby can choke on the baby formula, especially when he doesn’t breathe properly. After meals, help your child burp by placing him on your shoulder and patting down his upper back to help the food go down.
- Keep small objects out of your child’s reach. Baby proof your home. Keep coins, pins, pen covers, small balls such as marbles, buttons and decorative shells and rocks away from your child. Place these objects on a high shelf or inside drawers. Be mindful about where you place your keys or where you empty the objects from your pockets.
If you’re unsure, you can purchase a choke tube to test and see if an object posses a choking hazard for your child. If it fits in the tube, it may choke your child. If you don’t have a choke tube, use the cardboard roll of tissue paper. It is about the same diameter as a choke tube.
As long as you are careful and mindful about your baby’s surroundings, you can lower his risk for choking.