Choking Hazards

Did You Know?

You can help prevent your child from choking.

To learn more, watch these videos from 1,000 Days.

You can help prevent your child from choking. Have your child:

Talk to your child’s doctor or nurse to learn about what you can do to be prepared in case your toddler chokes on something.

The United States Department of Agriculture Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) pdf icon[PDF-34MB]external icon put together a list of foods to avoid because these foods may cause a child to choke. See the tables below for potential choking hazards for 6 to 12 month olds and 12 to 24 month olds. This list may not include all foods which may cause choking.

Potential Choking Hazards for 6 to 12 Month Olds

Your 6 to 12 month old is learning how to chew and swallow foods. This means your child could choke. Pay close attention to what your child is eating and what your child puts in his or her mouth. The way food is prepared may increase the risk for choking. Some foods that are served uncooked, whole, or in certain shapes can be choking hazards. Cutting up food into smaller pieces and mashing foods can help prevent choking. These are examples of potential choking hazards:

Fruits/Vegetables
  • Cooked or raw whole corn kernels
  • Uncut cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Pieces of hard raw fruit or vegetables
  • Whole pieces of canned fruit
  • Uncut grapes, berries, cherries, or melon balls
  • Uncooked dry fruit such as raisins
Proteins
  • Whole or chopped nuts and nut butters such as peanut butter
  • Tough or large chunks of meat
  • Hot dogs, meat sticks, or sausages
  • Fish with bones
  • Large chunks of cheese, especially string cheese
Grain Products
  • Cookies or granola bars
  • Potato or corn chips, pretzels, or similar snack foods
  • Crackers or breads with seeds, nut pieces, or whole grain kernels
  • Whole kernels of cooked rice, barley, wheat, or other grains
Sweetened Foods
  • Hard candy, jelly beans, caramels, gum drops, or gummy candies
  • Chewing gum
  • Marshmallows

Potential Choking Hazards for 12 to 24 Month Olds

By 12 months old, your child is getting better at eating and may even be feeding themselves. Even though your child can now eat most foods, some are still choking hazards. The way food is prepared may increase the risk for choking. Some foods that are served uncooked, whole, or in certain shapes can be choking hazards. Cutting up food into smaller pieces and mashing foods can help prevent choking. These are examples of potential choking hazards:

Fruits/ Vegetables
  • Carrot sticks
  • Whole grapes, cherry tomatoes
  • Large pieces of raw fruit or vegetables
Proteins
  • Whole peanuts
  • Tough meat
  • Round slices of hot dogs or sausages
  • Seeds
  • Chunks of peanut butter
Grains Products
  • Popcorn
  • Chips
Sweetened Foods
  • Chewing gum
  • Hard candy