Dr. Cindy Gellner explains what happens when children choke, what signs to look for, and what urgent actions nearby adults should take. Also, find out what types of foods and toys are the biggest choking hazards for kids.">

Sep 18, 2017 — If your child is choking, it can be a very scary experience for both of you, but there are things parents can do to prevent choking in children. Pediatrician Dr. Cindy Gellner explains what happens when children choke, what signs to look for, and what urgent actions nearby adults should take. Also, find out what types of foods and toys are the biggest choking hazards for kids.

Interview

Dr. Gellner: Watching your child, or any child choking, can be one of the scariest things for a parent to watch. We'll discuss what is choking, and how to prevent choking in kids on today's Scope. I'm Dr. Cindy Gellner.

Announcer: Keep your kids healthy and happy. You are now entering The Healthy Kids Zone with Dr. Cindy Gellner on The Scope.

Dr. Gellner: Choking is pretty much when things go down the wrong pipe. Something finds its way into the windpipe, rather than the esophagus. And your child's body is doing all it can to keep that object from heading south into their lungs.

The cough reflex will usually clear liquid in 10 to 30 seconds. But, it's solid food, or a small object like a tiny toy that's more likely to completely block their airway. When this happens, the child will not be able to breathe, cry, or speak. If that obstruction isn't removed in one to two minutes, the child will pass out.

Because choking can be so life-threatening, it's really important to prevent it from happening in the first place. Don't give children under the age of four anything that is a choking hazard such as seeds, gum, hard candy, popcorn, or pieces of food that they cannot chew thoroughly, depending on the number of teeth they have. Be sure to cut meats into tiny pieces. Kids love hotdogs, but those are a commonly choked on food.

Choking on rubber balloons is the leading cause of death from choking, when it comes to nonfood objects. Many times, kids will suddenly inhale on a deflated balloon they have been chewing on. Even teenagers have died from this freak accident. For little ones, if the toy can fit through a paper tube that the toilet paper comes on, it's too small to be around them. When it comes to choking, an ounce of prevention goes a long way.

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