Prevent choking and suffocation

You can help prevent your baby or child from choking or suffocating. While it’s natural for babies and young children to put things in their mouths, many things bring a risk of choking. If your baby or child is choking, please call 111.

Things that cause choking

  • If children eat while they are playing or running, they might choke

  • Small hard pieces of food like apple, meat and whole nuts

  • Small toys the size of a golf ball or smaller

  • Long things like ties and ribbons which can get caught on toys or the cot or furniture, and strangle them (or a baby might suck on them and choke)

  • Plastic bags as they can fit over a baby’s head and suffocate them, so keep plastic bags out of reach.

How to make your house safe from choking

  • Vacuum and sweep floors regularly to make sure there are no loose or broken parts where children play.

  • Remove ties and ribbons from the neck of your baby’s clothes.

  • Keep small objects out of reach.

  • Encourage your child to sit down when they’re eating and drinking.

  • Tie a knot in plastic bags and keep them out of reach.

  • Check the labels on your child’s toys for a warning about small parts. Anything smaller than a golf ball is a choking hazard for children under 5 years old.

  • Check around the cot for cords, toys and low mobiles that your baby could choke on. Remove anything they could twist around their neck or fingers, or pull over their head.

  • Check sleep space for broken or loose parts.

  • Avoid using bumper-pads, because the pads can suffocate and the ties can strangle a child.

  • Avoid toys tied to the cot or toys with elastic, ribbons or strings.

  • Take your baby’s bib off before putting them to bed.

  • Keep blind and curtain cords rolled up and out of reach.

  • Place the cot away from curtain and blind cords.

  • Always remove the original plastic wrapping from mattresses.

Be prepared

It would be beneficial to learn First Aid so you know what to do when your child is choking. Talk to your doctor, Plunket nurse or other well child health provider for more information.

An interesting link from Plunket
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