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Child Choking Hazards

Airway Obstruction Injuries

Each year, approximately 1,176 children ages 14 and under die from airway obstruction injuries. A majority of these incidents occur in the home. While some accidents are unavoidable, caregivers can help reduce the likelihood of suffocation and strangulation injuries by following simple safety guidelines and avoiding dangerous and defective toys and faulty household products.


Statistics below provided by SafeKids USA.

  • Each year, approximately 1,176 children ages 19 and under die from airway obstruction injuries.
  • More than 24,000 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for nonfatal suffocation or inhalation annually.
  • In 2010, 88 children died from accidental hanging and strangulation; 147 children died from choking on food or another object.
  • Each year, cribs and playpens are responsible for 20% of all nursery product-related injuries among children ages 5 and under.
  • Button batteries are particularly dangerous because when they gets stuck in a child’s throat, saliva triggers an electrical current
    that causes a chemical reaction resulting in burns to the esophagus.


At least one child dies from choking on food every five days in the U.S., according to the New York State Department of Health. Thousands more are treated for choking cases involving gum, coins, toys, and other household objects. Common causes of choking include:

  • Food
  • Gum
  • Coins
  • Small Balls
  • Balloons
  • Pillows
  • Cushions
  • Necklaces
  • Ribbons
  • Batteries
  • Small Toys or Parts of Toys
  • Peanuts
  • Tough Meat
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Chewing Gum

Strangulation, which can result in serious injury, brain damage, and death, can occur within minutes. Strangulation incidents can be caused by drawstrings, ribbons, and cords, and by entrapment in pieces of future, playground equipment, or strollers.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has implemented strict rules regarding drawstrings, blinds, and other strangulation and entrapment hazards in order to protect children from needless accidents. Common strangulation hazards include:


The best way to prevent your child from choking or suffocating is to watch them diligently and to pay close attention to the toys, furniture, and household goods they have access to. Other safety tips provided by SafeKids Worldwide:

Choking Prevention

  • Cut food for toddlers into tiny pieces.
  • Remember to have young kids eat in a high chair or at the table, not while lying down or playing.
  • Consider your child’s age when purchasing a toy or game.
  • Check toys for small parts or other potential choking hazards.
  • See the world from a child’s perspective. Get on the floor on your hands and knees so that you are at your child’s eye level. Look for and remove small items.
  • Keep small objects such as buttons, beads, jewelry, pins, nails, marbles, coins, stones, and tacks out of reach and sight.
  • Keep small magnets away from children. These include magnets found in construction sets, kid’s games, children’s toys, or stress-relieving adult desk toys; refrigerator magnets; and rare-earth magnets such as Buckyballs.
  • Fill out product registration information on all toys so that you can be informed of product recalls.

Strangulation Prevention

  • Keep cords and strings, including those attached to window blinds, out of your child’s reach.
  • Move all cribs, beds, furniture, and toys away from windows and window cords.
  • Remove necklaces, purses, scarves, helmets, or clothing with drawstrings when children are playing or sleeping.
  • Don’t tie strings or ribbons to a pacifier or toy.
  • Remove bibs before bedtime or nap time.
  • Sign up for recall alerts on


If you’ve been injured, we can help. Contact us