Some injuries that early childhood educators should be aware of and intentionally act to prevent in the last chapter were presented in the previous chapter and earlier in this chapter during the discussion about safe toys and art materials. Here is some further information about injuries that are more likely to happen indoors.
Choking occurs when an object blocks the airway, preventing breathing.54 Infants have the highest rates of choking (140 per 100,000). That risk decreases as they get older and their airway increases in size, with 90% of fatal choking happening in children less than 4 years of age.
Reducing the Risks of Choking
The main way to prevent choking is to recognize that objects that are 1½ inches or less in diameter are higher risk. 56 Foods are the most common cause of choking. Having children sit during snacks and meals at an unhurried pace, allowing time for children to properly chew their food helps prevent choking on food. Food is safest when cut into small pieces or served in small amounts. See Table 3.7 for foods that commonly cause choking.
Common Choking Hazards
Foods Other Items
Fruits (especially when the skin is left on)
Vegetables (especially when raw)
Toys, and other items that children may play with, are another common source of choking hazards. Ensuring children only have access to age-appropriate toys is an important step.