How to Avoid Choking

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Avoid Choking
Avoid Choking

How to Avoid Choking. Choking is a very common, but potentially life-threatening, form of emergency. To avoid choking, we can all take some simple, common-sense precautions. Accidents happen, and there is no way to completely avoid the risk of choking, but with a few guidelines, you can greatly reduce it. Read on to learn how to avoid choking.

Take small bites. Cut food, especially meat, into small pieces. Be careful with especially dry foods, such as pretzels and bread.

Chew all food completely. Enzymes in your saliva help break down the food in advance, so that it goes down more easily. Bites should not cause difficulty in swallowing.

Cut food for small children into very manageable bites. Hamburgers, hot dogs and even fruits should be cut for children. Hot dogs, bananas and grapes should be cut lengthwise. Supervise young children's eating closely.

Avoid giving hard or especially dry foods to children under the age of four or five. These include nuts, gum drops, popcorn and hard candy--anything that could easily be caught in the throat.

Teach young children not to put stray objects into their mouths, and keep your floors clean of small objects, such as marbles, small office supplies or other choking hazards.

Select toys carefully, paying close attention to the age limits on the boxes. Avoid toys with small, removable parts for young children, and warn older children about keeping them out of reach of younger siblings or visitors.

Pick up a copy of "Household Safety Sourcebook" by Dawn D. Matthews. See the Resources section below for a link. This book contains helpful advice about choking, including how to avoid it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Choking is a serious danger in a any house or workplace, and it is always sudden and unexpected, so it is important to be prepared. Learn how to best avoid this common emergency, and then educate those around you--especially children--in how to do the same. You could save a life without ever knowing it.
  • Be careful about drinking excessive amounts of alcohol before or during dinner. This can dry out your mouth and impair your judgment when it comes to taking properly sized bites.
  • Drink plenty of water with a meal, but try not to drink with food in your mouth, as it could make you swallow a portion sooner than intended.
  • Never pretend to be choking if you aren't. Not only does this cause unnecessary panic and aggravation for the people around you, but it also makes people less likely to respond when you are having a real emergency. This is particularly important around children, who may attempt to mimic your antics. Such horseplay can lead to actual choking--and an emergency situation.

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