Make sure your kids eat sitting down

It is well known that young children are more likely to choke on food than older people. There are two things you can do to reduce the risk of choking in your children. First, avoid foods such as hot dogs and peanuts that are associated with choking. Second, make sure your children are sitting down when they eat. In my office, I remind parents that young children are easily distracted and that sitting at the table helps them stay focused on their eating. I also show parents how hard it is to swallow when a person is looking up. I do this by asking them to swallow saliva while they are looking at the ceiling (this is very difficult to do). I then point out that toddlers frequently look up at people. If children are walking around with food in their mouths and try to swallow while they are looking up, they may gasp and aspirate by accident. Finally, because children may have choking episodes despite your best efforts, you should take a CPR class so you know how to do a Heimlich maneuver should the need arise.

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