Top Choking Hazards for Kids Under 4

Last updated March 8, 2023
By Renae D'Andrea

Can you name the choking hazards for kids under 4? How about for babies? 

These are some of the more common choking hazards for kids and babies!

While most of us know to avoid whole hot dogs and grapes, there are several other foods that are also on the list of choking hazards! 

The Basics

The American Academy of Pediatrics keeps a list of choking hazard foods for kids under 4. It’s a good place to start. That list will cover you for most of your child’s toddlerhood. Keeping in mind, of course, that every kid is different and some kids might have problems with foods that aren’t on this list.  

One of the least known choking hazards is popcorn! Head here to learn why popcorn is a choking hazard for kids under 4.

Choking Hazards for Baby Led Weaning

But what about babies? Especially those doing a baby led weaning style of feeding? What are the most common choking hazards in baby led weaning? Babies need to avoid the same foods as toddlers, as well as a few additional ones. Now these additional ones tend to be some of the less obvious ones, like raisins. Things that tend to be pretty hard for babies to safely swallow. 

More: For more help with baby led weaning and how to help your baby succeed with eating, be sure to check out this article with a comprehensive guide to baby led weaning and first baby foods!

Different Kids = Different Skills

So if these are choking hazards, why do some kids do just fine with them? I’m sure you have heard of other parents giving their kids these foods with no problem, right? Every parent is absolutely allowed to choose what is right for their kid. Because all kids have different skills. 

I just want you to keep one thing in mind while making your decisions for your own kids. Choking doesn’t usually happen in the normal course of a meal. When your kid is calm and paying attention to what they’re doing. It often happens when their attention is distracted and they aren’t paying attention. Or when they’re not at the table and are moving around. So make sure you’re thinking about what happens if your child unexpectedly jumps from being startled or stops concentrating on their food. Because that’s where the most risk is! 

**I will say, though, that if the food is a round or circle shape, like grapes or a hot dog, it’s just not worth the risk. Those foods are so commonly choked on that even if you think your child could probably handle it, it’s the rare instance that something unexpectedly happens that you just don’t want to risk. **

To help you remember the foods to avoid, I've created a visual list with the main choking hazards. Not only does it tell you those foods to avoid, but if there’s a safer way to serve the food, I’ve also included it. Super easy for you, or the baby sitter/grandparents/aunts or uncles, to hang on your fridge and use. Grab it below! For a full run down on choking hazards and how to serve them safely for babies, be sure to check out the starting solids course. In it, you'll get video walk throughs showing you what makes each type of food a choking hazard, and how to modify them safely!

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  • Such good content!

  • Renae D'Andrea says:

    Thank you!

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