Sweeties can cause toddlers to choke

Tragic death of UK toddler is a reminder for us parents to be extra vigilant of choking hazards

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A 2-year-old boy from Manchester has died after choking on a lollipop. The lollipop was part of a multi-pack of sweets, which was labelled as unsuitable for toddlers under 3 years of age.

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The toddler had been enjoying his lollipop when it became stuck in his throat. His 13-year-old brother saw he was in trouble and tried to pull it out of his mouth, but the stick came away in his hand.

According to the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT), around half of all choking accidents with young children involve food. And it’s sweets and fish bones that are the most common foods involved.

While we often read the packaging of toys to make sure they’re suitable for our little ones, it can be easy to forget that any small items – from sweeties to buttons or batteries – can also be a problem. Firstly, make sure you check labels of foods and others products – warnings that items are only suitable for children of a certain age are there for a reason. Secondly, be aware of the usual suspects:

  • Reconstituted meat – stuff like hot dogs or burgers, which can be hard for young children to swallow
  • Raw veg
  • Fruits with skins – think grapes, plums and apples
  • Sweets, especially hard or chewy ones
  • Nuts
  • Bones in fish
  • Small objects – coins, batteries, buttons, parts of toys, marbles, the caps of pens. Basically, whatever you tot can fit in their mouth!
  • Plastic bags or wrappers – these can cause choking, strangulation or suffocation

The CAPT also say one of the biggest causes of choking for young children is running around with food and sweets in their mouths. To avoid this risk, encourage your tots to sit down when eating.

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To find out more about choking and how to avoid it, the CAPT has a handy – and free – fact sheet.

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