Checklist For Preventing Your Baby From Choking

Checklist For Preventing Your Baby From Choking

Pēpi (babies) and tamariki (children) can choke on food at any age but those under 5 are at higher risk, and especially tamariki and pēpi under 3. Watch a video about ways to reduce the choking risk.


Video transcript

Be aware of foods that are more likely to cause choking.

Small hard foods

Small hard foods that are difficult for tamariki to bite or chew (such as nuts, large seeds, popcorn husks, raw apple, carrot and celery)

Dried fruit pieces, raw apple pieces, raw carrot pieces

Small round foods

Small round foods that can get stuck in children's throats (such as grapes, berries, raisins, sultanas, peas, watermelon seeds, lollies)

Small round tomatoes, green grapes, red grapes

Foods with skins or leaves

Foods with skins or leaves that are difficult to chew (such as sausages, chicken, lettuce, nectarines)

Apples and plums with skins on

Foods that can squash down

Food that can squash down into the shape of your baby's throat and get stuck (such as hot dogs, sausages, pieces of cooked meat, popcorn)

Cheerios (small saveloys)

Thick pastes

Thick pastes that can get stuck in children's throats (such as chocolate spreads, peanut butter)

Peanut butter, chocolate spread

Fibrous or stringy foods

Fibrous or stringy foods that are difficult for children to chew (such as celery, raw pineapple)

Raw celery stick, raw pineapple

Some tips for reducing choking risk

To reduce the risk of choking on these foods, you can:

Alter the food texture

Grated carrot

Remove the high-risk parts of the food – peel off the skin or remove the strong fibres

Raw silverbeet with stem partially removed, apple partly peeled, a knife

Avoid giving small hard foods, such as whole nuts and large seeds until tamariki are at least 5 years old

Whole nuts (almonds), large seeds (pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds), unpopped popcorn husks

Plunket logo
Call PlunketLine on 0800 933 922 for parenting advice, including advice about feeding your baby.

This page last reviewed 05 December 2023.

Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 any time of the day or night for free health advice when you need it