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Choking Hazards

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

  • Sit up while eating (no lying down).
  • Sit in a high chair or other safe place.
  • Avoid eating in the car or stroller.

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-237KB] put together a list of foods to avoid because these foods may cause a child to choke. See the tables below for choking hazards for 6 to 12 month olds and 12 to 24 month olds.

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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.

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

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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

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.

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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

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Grains Products

  • Popcorn
  • Chips

Sweetened Foods

  • Chewing gum
  • Hard candy

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