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Protect the ones you love: suffocation

Suffocation: The Reality

We all want to keep our children safe and secure and help them live to their full potential. Knowing how to prevent the leading causes of child injury, like suffocation, is a step toward this goal.

When a child is unable to breath, also known as suffocation, it can be scary. Infants are most at risk for suffocation while sleeping. Toddlers are more likely to suffocate from choking on food and other objects, like small toys.

Thankfully, parents can play a key role in protecting the children they love from suffocation.

Prevention Tips

Create a safe sleeping environment. Place infants on their backs on a firm surface every time they are laid down for sleep. The safest place for infants to sleep is in a crib or bassinet—not in the same bed as parents. Keep soft objects like stuffed animals, blankets, and loose bedding out of cribs. Do not put objects such as mobiles above cribs.

Stay safe during meal and play time. Cut or break age-appropriate food into small bite-size pieces. Always supervise infants or young children during mealtime. Encourage children to chew their food thoroughly and to swallow it before talking or laughing. Also, children should not eat while playing or running. Read the age recommendations and choking hazard labels on toy packaging to determine suitable toys for children.  

Learn basic first aid and CPR. Knowing how to safely remove food and small objects from the airway and how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can save a child’s life. Learn basic first aid and CPR and get recertified every 2 years.



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    National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC)
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800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC–INFO
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