Choking illustration

Amid growing concerns about children choking on food, the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) has launched a new fact sheet with essential safety advice.

The fact sheet offers practical tips for parents and carers, especially of babies and toddlers who are at greatest risk as they are still learning how to eat safely. It is also available in Welsh.

Figures from the National Child Mortality Database reveal that 17 children died as a result of choking in the three years to March 2022. Nine children choked to death on food including grapes, sausages, strawberries and frozen fruit.

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Four top tips to stop young children choking:

1. Stay with babies and young children while they eat.

2. Learn how best to cut up their food:

– grapes, strawberries, small tomatoes – cut lengthways and into quarters

– sausages, cheese, large hard fruit – cut into thin strips.

3. Avoid some foods until they’re older – hard sweets, whole nuts, popcorn and marshmallows.

4. Learn basic first aid so you know what to do in an emergency.

Source: The Child Accident Prevention Trust. Visit: capt.org.uk/choking-prevention

Simple things you can do

Katrina Phillips OBE, Chief Executive of the charity said:

“While you’ll hear a baby gagging on food, choking can be silent, with no noise to alert you that something is wrong. That’s why it’s so important to stay with them while they eat, so you can take immediate action if the worst happens.

“We had a huge response to our Facebook post on mini eggs, with so many comments from worried parents. Our new fact sheet is designed to answer their concerns and tackle misconceptions.

“For example, choking on food isn’t just about young children not chewing properly. It takes time to learn to breathe, chew and swallow in harmony.”

More on choking

Choking prevention is a key part of Child Safety Week, the charity’s annual awareness campaign running from 3 to 9 June.

Alongside the new fact sheet (which is also available in Welsh), the charity is offering posters highlighting the risks and a choking advice hub full of practical tips.

Related pages:

choking prevention: Image shows whole grapes in various colours

Choking advice hub

Discover how to keep your children safe from choking, including food to avoid and what to do if the worst should happen.

Choking fact sheet

Safe from choking fact sheet

Our choking fact sheet offers practical tips and advice to keep children safe from choking.

Choking poster pack

Choking poster pack

Download our choking poster pack for three printable posters you can display in your setting.

Breathe easy fact sheet

More choking resources

Visit our resource centre for more free resources on choking prevention.

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