A.A. asks from San Diego, CA on March 11, 2009
Need Some Reassurance After 16 Month Old Choked!
My 16 month old daughter was sitting on my lap in the waiting room of our pediatrician's office snacking on cheerios and apple (cut up into tiny pea sized pieces). When the nurse came into the room and called her name she inhaled whatever she had in her mouth and started seriously choking. The nurse actually had to perform the helmlich on her! I was horrified and now I'm TERRIFIED to feed her solids. My pediatrician still said that I can feed her anything we eat, but from your experience are there certain foods that I should be staying away from? I'm really shaken up from the experience.
G.R. answers from San Diego on March 12, 2009
You got some great advice. but at 16 months she probably doesn't have to many back teeth to actually chew. front teeth are for biting back teeth are for chewing. with apples being so tiny how can she chew them? I actually waited awhile to give apples but when I did I cut them thin instead of small. So if you cut them thin like a potatoe chip she will be able to bite and chew them much easier. even with out any teetch she can chew on thin sliced apples. and don't let this one get you down to much there will be plenty more accidnets to come no matter how careful you are.
D.M. answers from San Diego on March 12, 2009
Hi A.. I have a two year old and when she was about 10 months old she choked on small cooked noodles. I thought that since they were small she wouldn't have a problem, but I was wrong. Luckily she was able to clear it from her throat. Other than the small noodles my daughter has had no problem with all the other food I give her.
S.H. answers from Honolulu on March 11, 2009
I have found that even though something is chopped up into pea sized pieces...that it can still be choke-able, if it is something 'hard'...(ie: like apples or raw carrots) AND anything that is sticky/chewy/gummy... like some breakfast bars, pancakes, chewy fresh baked breads, etc.
Don't feel bad, really, it was an accident, and I"m sure almost all Moms here have had scares like this. I know I have.
And personally speaking, when I was in middle school, I choked on a hard candy... while IN class. NO ONE knew or saw me gasping or that I was in trouble. With the very last iota of air I had left in my lungs, I forced it out as best I could and it shot out of my mouth. Literally. I learned from this, that "suffocation" or asphyxiating is a "silent" event. No one can hear you.
-Not to scare you but just a head's up.
But basically, ANYTHING can be choked on, even by adults. So don't feel you were negligent or ignorant. You are a caring loving Mom whose daughter and you had a scare.
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C.S. answers from Las Vegas on March 12, 2009
At 22 months, your baby is actually very smart. I am sure this shook her up just as much as it did you. I am certain she heard you say the word choke and she knows how to associate the word choke with the horrible thing that happened. I would just always remind her to chew her food up real good so she doesn't choke. She will do it.
1 mom found this helpful
J.B. answers from Los Angeles on March 12, 2009
my daughter has choked a few times and yes its scary. feed her anything and everything. my daughter choked on a grape but that doesnt make me stop giving them to her (she loves them). i agree to continue to feed her solids. you dont want her to regress to baby foods (plus she may not eat baby food again). this was an accident and its probably not going to be the only time it will happen (not to scare you but to be realistic). dont be scared to feed her again please please. good luck!
L.U. answers from Honolulu on March 12, 2009
Good advices, mmm heimlich on 16month, well, I'm glad she's alright. Asking quesions helps, as you are doing. Sometimes, situations may happen and never happen again, as it did with my son, as well. For my own reassurance, I learned more about First Aid and CPR and kept it up. As children will be active in their play and they will get excited. In time, you will pass your knowledge onto your child on keeping safe as well. It was a scary experience, and your a loving mom for that. Take care.
R.F. answers from Los Angeles on March 12, 2009
Oh my gosh...you poor thing! That was one of the scariest things that will ever happen in your life.
The probability of your daughter choking again is slim to none.
I speak from years of experience as a police and fire dispatcher and handled literally thousands of calls over the years. In all my years experience, there were fewer than 10 calls for people actually choking.
It sounds like your daughter was startled when the nurse called her name, and that may have interrupted her normal chewing, swallowing, breathing functions.
Your daughter is lucky to have such a caring, cautious mom.
I would like to suggest two things: try to get over your fear about what happened because your daughter will "feel your fear" . Remember that she is ok.
The other thing is to make sure your daughter sits down to eat because it is a choking hazard for toddlers to snack while walking.
Be kind to yourself. We, as moms, are limited as to how much we can protect our children and it sounds like you are diligent, careful and caring.
I wish you many blessings,
R.J. answers from San Diego on March 11, 2009
On the upside: Perfect place to have that happen!
I'm surprised though, that the nurse preformed the Heimlich on her though...usually with small children...you turn them upside-down and strike between their shoulderblades. The upside down part is key...otherwise it just lodges the food further down the airway...which is why we don't do it with adults!
Anyhow...back to request at hand...we avoided anything hard, or non-dissolvable, or naturally round (like grapes). Cheerios are great both because of the hole, and the fact that they dissolve...if they get sucked down an airway they don't block it and then it turns into mush and gets coughed up or absorbs.
We did a LOT of mushy foods..peaches, banannas, ground meats (hamburger, salisbury steak, chicken patties, etc. that are then kind of shredded), dimsum, sushi, soups with the soup part poured off into a sippy and the solids in a bowl, noodles, overcooked veggies, cottage cheese, applesauce (try mixing applesauce and cottage cheese together! Looks terrible, but sooo yummy), goat cheese, yogurts, things you dip pitas into like middle eastern & greek and indian hummus/babaganoosh/curries, broiled fish in flakes, macaroni and cheese, scrambled eggs, etc.
Hotdogs are borderline. One great trick with hotdogs, btw, that I learned after the fact (darnit!) was to slice them in half the LONG way, then slice them AGAIN (so you've got quarters) and then to cut the four pieces in half. That way they can nibble on them...but they're not going to block their trachea if they inhale.
Things we avoided: Anything that has to (theoretically) be chewed. Pretty much...if I can swallow it comfortably without chewing it, they can. Yuck! Swallow a grape whole? Eeeew. So you can use that as a test...cut something 4x bigger then you've cut it for her and try to swallow it without chewing. Does it get stuck? Does it feel icky? Then it's probably time to wait a few more months. Or make it wetter and or even smaller. ALSO...leave some things cut big for them to gum on (pitas and dips come to mind).
Anyhow...this is more ideas of what to do, rather then what not to do...but I hope it helps.
Choking happens. In our huge immediate family (over 40 adult type people on Thanksgiving), someone chokes about once every 5 years...and the kids more frequently. We've got a lot of doctors and nurses in the fam though, so it's never thought of as much of a big deal...especially with children. Adults you DO have to Heimlich but kids are so easy, just flip them upside down and whack. Just be careful where you aim.
B.L. answers from Los Angeles on March 12, 2009
Grapes, hot dogs cut in circles, nuts, carrots cut in circles, and popcorn are the standard answers of foods to avoid. i would wait until she is two for those foods, and I would still cut the grapes in half. Oh, and don't ever allow peanut butter by the spoonful - it needs to be on a cracker or something because the peanut butter itself will not come up in Heimlich - it needs to be attached to something. And gum of course. Wait until she knows not to swallow it. I wouldn't worry too much about what the Dr. says. If you feel your child can't handle certain foods, don't give them, or puree them. I have a 30 month old that still uses babyfood jars because she often chokes and vomits small crackers, and does not chew table foods well. (She is being treated for her conditions.) I puree whatever we are eating to about the size of a grain of rice and let her try it. But if she can't get it down or begins to gag, I revert to baby food. Some children tolerate table foods just fine, but you know your child best. 16 months seems awfully young to me to be worried about having her eat everything you eat. Follow your own instincts. Good luck.
J.L. answers from San Diego on March 12, 2009
Hi A., I totally understand your fear, she probably had to much in her mouth, and the sight of her pediatrician, might have scared he a little and that's why she inhaled, cheeires are fine, when my kids were her age I pelled the apples, I didn't start leaving the peeling on until they were 2, things like hot dogs, popcorn, hard candies, those you want to avoid at 16 months, if you do give her hot dog, tak the skin off fist and then cut in very small pieces, what we have to remember as parents, it's not always the size or hardness off the food, but also how much is going in the mouth at one time, with some kids, the smaller something is the more they put in their mouth at one time. I know some mom's think that putting a child in the high chair with cherrios or some other snack is the time to go get some house work done, that's not the time, children need to be monitoured while eating. I always told my baby's/toddlers one bite at a time, also another thing I have seen is parents playing with their baby's/toddlers while in the high chair, making a child laugh during meal time is not the right time, sure ingredeints for choking. Hope this helps. J. L.