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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.

Howard J. Bennett, M.D.