“I look at the ventilated child we resuscitated after he choked on a grape. All I can see is my son: same age, same blonde hair. I go home and check his pulse as he sleeps. I cut up grapes for years to come.”
Becky, Advanced Clinical Practitioner
Foods to cut up
Think anything round, hard, chunky, doughy or stodgy.
Sausages or hot dogs – cut into short, narrow strips lengthways as thin as possible. Removing the skin makes them easier to swallow.
Meat – cut into strips and remove any bones, skin or fat.
Fruit – check for pips or stones and remove them.
Round fruit like grapes, blueberries, cherries, strawberries and cherry tomatoes – cut lengthways and then into quarters.
Vegetables and larger fruit like melon, apple, mango, carrot and cucumber – cut into thin strips. You can grate or mash soft food or steam or simmer harder food to soften it, especially for weaning or very young children.
Removing skin from fruits or vegetables makes them easier to swallow and reduces the risk of your child choking on the skin.
Legumes like chickpeas and butter beans – mash or steam to soften them.
Whole nuts should not be given to children under five. Chop or flake nuts and seeds.
Cheese – cut into narrow batons or strips.
White bread can form a doughy ball in the throat, so brown or toasted bread is a good option. Cut all types of bread into narrow strips.
Remember – cutting up food does not reduce the need to stay with young children when they’re eating!