According to MSN Health & Fitness, choking accidents account for about 150 deaths each year for children under the age of four. Young children are at risk of choking for two reasons: they lack teeth, which help us chew our food into safe sizes, and they have a propensity to stick things in their mouth out of curiosity.
How can you better protect your children against choking?
· Be aware of the most common choking hazards in your household. These items include coins, hard candy, balloons, batteries, marbles, rubber balls, pen caps, grapes, large pieces of food, and any number of small toys or toy parts. Be sure to keep these objects out of reach of your small child, and be sure to cut food into appropriate sizes.
· Childproof your house. Put child safety locks on cabinet doors. Crawl around your house to gain perspective - if you can reach something dangerous, so can he.
· Know CPR and the Heimlich maneuver. If your child does happen to choke on something, be sure you know how to react quickly and effectively. Both medical maneuvers are different when a child is involved, so be sure to know the differences - classes are usually offered locally.
· Have emergency numbers ready. Keep the phone numbers on your fridge, in your wallet, and in your car in case of emergency. If you leave your children with a babysitter or other caregiver, make sure they are aware of the numbers' location.
· Check the age range on your children's toys. Most toys will come with age restrictions on the box - these are usually to prevent child accident or injury. If a toy has been approved for your child's age group, it should be safe. However, there are always exceptions and the danger of defective products.
· Supervise your children. Simply watching over your children as they play and eat can be a lifesaver. Check on them regularly, be familiar with their toys and habits, and make sure you are there if they ever need your help.