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09th Feb 2024

A paramedic has shared a simple hack to check for toddler choking hazards



Babies and children have a natural tendency to put things in their mouths.

These include food, but also non-food items, such as small toys and household items. This, of course, can pose a serious risk of choking.

Most of us are well aware that things like grapes, sausages, lollipops and popcorn can all be a choking hazard to young children, but what else? Spotting potential choking hazards around your home can be somewhat difficult, but luckily one mum and paramedic has a trick up here sleeve we should all know about.

Aussie mum, Nikki, who runs Tiny Hearts Education, a company which provides child first aid and CPR and birthing courses, recently shared a clip to Instagram showing off her “favourite parenting hack” to help prevent toddlers from choking.

Posting the clip on her Instagram account, the mum-of-two showed how simple it is to check whether something is a choking hazard for babies and toddlers.

Alongside the image, Nikki wrote: “This is how I check to see if food or small items may potentially be a choking hazard for my bub”

“The circle is approx. the size of a child’s airway aged zero-three. If anything can fit in this hole, then it’s a choking hazard.”

Choke check hack

In the clip, the paramedic is seen making a circle with her index finger and thumb, as she then drops items through the hole.

From a coin to popcorn and cherries, it is pretty eye-opening to see how many potential choking hazards we have in our homes.

In the clip ‘choke check hack’, she goes on to explain that the circle made by your finger and thumb ‘mimics the airway size of a child 0-3’.

Thousands of people liked the post with many commenting on how useful the ‘hack’ is while tagging friends.

“Such a great reminder! Especially when you have an older child who has toys/hair clips etc that fit into those categories” wrote one mum.

While another said that sharing the tip just after Christmas was excellent timing.

“Oh thanks for sharing! I’m just about to sort the kid’s toys to remove any choking hazard with my littlest about to start crawling and reaching for toys. Such a clever way to pick out choking hazard toys!”

Don’t forget marshmallows

One mum made an excellent point about marshmallows: “Marshmallows are one too. My 4 year old choked after it got lodged in her throat. Never thought that could happen.”

Some went on to question Nikki about specific foods, such as peas and chickpeas.

“Peas are fine just make sure they pass the squish test! Chickpeas are also okay after 6 months, to reduce the choking risk flatten cooked chickpeas between your fingers and discard any skins that slip off. In saying that, I only just felt comfortable giving them to Wolf at 17 months but I’m a bit OTT”, shared Niki.

Some also noted that a lot of foods would fit through this hole if they’re cut lengthways as we’re advised.

Nikki went on to clarify her point: “This hack was created to help you find choking hazards and potentially save the life of your little one.

“It is designed to show you how easily an object should get stuck in an airway and block it.

“Take the grape, for example, if not in quarters the full grape could completely block the airway. It helps create awareness of certain objects that match this hole’s size and may be a choking hazard.”

She then went on to remind parents that the hack is a “general guide only”.

“It helps you to see that there are A LOT of things that can fit, which means there are a lot of potential hazards around.

“This will help you when making buying decisions for toys and even preparing food for your bub.”