By Dr. Farooq Mirza
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio
Around eight to nine months of age, infants begin exploring their environment by putting almost everything into their mouths. They have to be protected from ingesting dangerous materials. Any hard, smooth food that requires a grinding, chewing motion should not be given to young children.
- Large chunks of foods such as meat, vegetables, etc., are a choking hazard.
- All nuts (peanuts), hard candy, grapes, raisins, hot dogs, sausages, popcorn, and corn should not be given to children under four years of age, since the chewing motion is not well established. Even thick peanut butter poses a choking hazard for infants.
- Small items such as coins, buttons, pins, paper clips, etc., should be kept out of reach of young children
- Un-inflated balloons should not be allowed around children. Balloons and plastic bags or wrap are designed to be airtight. If they are placed over the mouth and nose or are inhaled, they may make a tight seal and smother the child. If an inflated balloon bursts, the pieces should be disposed of immediately.
- While most toys designed for children under three years are safe, the toys of older siblings pose a danger to their younger brothers and sisters. Take care to ensure that young children do not have access to toys designed for older children.