It’s certainly exciting when those first little teeth start to come in! I was in total denial when my son’s teeth began to erupt when he was just 3 months old. And then 4 years later, I wondered how long my daughter would have to gum her food when her teeth still hadn’t come in at 8 months. Every kid is different, right?!
Beyond the drooling, night waking, and overall grouchiness of teething, there is the fun of watching our kids experience new foods and textures. Their mouths feel different and their new teeth allow them to bite and chew–which also poses a new set of hazards.
Did you know more than 12,000 children are taken to the emergency room each year for food-choking injuries?
Food is a very common choking hazard. Young children–especially 4 years old and under–don’t chew their food very well. As a result, they may end up swallowing their food whole. What this means is that foods that are small and round can put your child at risk for choking.
The usual suspects include:
- Hot dogs
- Raw vegetables (carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, etc.)
- Chunks of cheese
- Granola bars
But peanut butter, marshmallows, and hard, gooey, or sticky candy are also food-choking hazards. Children can still enjoy these foods as long as extra safety precautions are taken. Cutting foods into small pieces (about 1/2 inch or smaller) will prevent them from becoming stuck in your child’s throat. I’ve found that cutting some foods like grapes and hot dogs lengthwise helps, too–just be sure the pieces are small. Steaming veggies is a great way to soften them up without losing any nutrients, and sliced almonds are a great way for little ones to safely enjoy nuts. Be sure little ones are seated in an upright position while eating, and avoid eating in the car.
Toys & Other Hazards
Toys with small parts also pose a threat to young children when it comes to choking. Be mindful of toys with little pieces, batteries, latex balloons, coins, marbles, and beads. If you have a crawler, it’s always a good idea to get down on the floor and look at things from your child’s perspective. Click here to read more about how to avoid accidents at home, especially during the holidays.
The Importance of Supervision
All of that being said, supervision by a responsible adult is incredibly important. When children choke, the object in their throat cuts off the supply of oxygen to their brain. In fact, brain damage or death can occur if the object is not dislodged within 4 minutes.
It’s also a good idea to take a CPR and child safety class. My husband and I took one a few years ago as part of a parenting series, and it helped us to feel confident about knowing what to do in an emergency. These classes are great for grandparents, too!
Happy Holidays From Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob Pediatric Dentist wishes you and your family and safe, healthy, and happy holiday season!
Whether you’re just beginning to establish an oral care routine for your infant or wanting to help your older kids improve their dental hygiene habits, Dr. Bob and his team are here for you every step of the way. A parent himself, Dr. Bob gets it and brings his own parenting experience to his practice of pediatric dentistry.
With winter break coming up, now’s a great time to schedule an exam and cleaning and get back to those healthy oral routines. Dr. Bob’s office is located in South Miami, and he and his team are committed to providing the exceptional care your child deserves. They follow the strictest protocols for cleanliness and have incorporated increased safety protocols to ensure your child(ren)’s routine appointments are as safe as possible. Call the office at 305-397-8214 or click here to schedule an appointment today!