How to cut grapes the RIGHT way to avoid choking
Did you know whole grapes are a dangerous choking hazard for babies, toddlers and young children? We explain why – and show you how to slice them so they're safe for your child to eat
Last reviewed by Dr Philippa Kaye in November 2023
Grapes – and cherry tomatoes and other similarly shaped small food– need to be sliced before you give them to young children because, otherwise, they can be a choking hazard.
But it’s important that you slice them the right way. And the right way to slice grapes or cherry tomatoes for children is lengthways, not widthways.
And, for smaller children – and bigger grapes – you may want to slice them lengthways into 4 quarters, rather than 2 halves.
All of this is, of course, a bit of a faff – unless you know our brilliant hack that saves you time by slicing multiple grapes safely lengthwise all at once.
To find out how, watch our video, above, or follow our simple step-by-step guide below.
Why do you need to cut up grapes for small children?
"Grapes and cherry tomatoes are a choking hazard for babies and toddlers," says our expert family GP Dr Philippa Kaye. "There are a number of reasons why.
"The main reasons are that children this age may only have front or incisor teeth, so are less likely to have ground up the food in their mouth before swallowing it. Also, depending on their softness and the way they are shaped, certain foods can block the relatively small and tight airways of a small child, essentially sealing them shut."
- What do you do if your child chokes on food? We hope this doesn't happen but it's always good to know what to do if it did. Do take a moment to read up on the latest guidance from the NHS on how to stop a child from choking.
Is it just grapes and cherry tomatoes that you need to slice?
"No, it isn't just grapes and cherry tomatoes that should be cut up lengthways," says Dr Philippa, "but also large blackberries and other foods like sausages need to be cut up small."
The grape hack explained: our step-by-step guide to slicing lots of grapes – the safe way – all at once
You'll need a long, sharp knife or a breadknife and 2 plates.
- Place the grapes on a plate. They should all be lying down on their sides, not balanced upright on their tip/stalk end.
- Cover the grapes with the 2nd plate, holding it in place firmly with one hand
- Use your knife to slide between the 2 plates and move across from 1 side to the other, cutting all the grapes as you go
- Remove the top plate to reveal your sliced grapes
You can also see exactly how to do this hack in our video, above.
Pics: Jessica Gibb, Getty Images. Video production and editing: Janet Mtima
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