When preparing foods for babies we need to make sure that we offer foods that they can easily chew and swallow. We should consider the size, shape and texture. During meal times it's important that we supervise the children in order to prevent choking.
Preparing Foods To Prevent Choking
A baby's air pipe is about the width of one of their fingernails, so it’s important to prepare foods like the following:
- cook or steam foods until they are soft enough to easily pierce with a fork
- cut soft foods into small pieces (no larger than 1⁄2 inch) or thin slices that can easily be chewed
- cut round foods, such as hotdogs, into short strips (lengthwise) rather than round pieces
- cut grapes and cherry tomatoes into quarters.
- remove pits, seeds, and tough skins or peels from ripe fruit and cut the fruit into small pieces.
- modify the texture of foods by pureeing, mashing, grinding, or finely chopping.
- grind up tough meats.
- cook or steam food until it is soft.
- puree, mash, or finely chop foods into small pieces (no larger than 1⁄2 inch) or thin slices or strips (lengthwise).
- remove all bones from fish, chicken, and meat before cooking or serving
Apples are a common food that babies tend to choke on. Serve apples peeled, sliced thinly and steamed for the young ones. For older babies, use a cheese grater to grate it.
Foods That Are Choking Hazards
Foods that are considered choking hazards for babies include:
- pieces of raw vegetables or hard fruits
- whole grapes, berries, cherry or grape tomatoes (instead, peel and slice or cut in quarters)
- raisins and other dried fruit
- peanuts, nuts, and seeds
- large scoops of peanut butter and other nut or seed butter (use only a thin layer)
- whole hot dogs and kiddie sausages (peel and cut these in very small pieces)
- untoasted bread, especially white bread that sticks together
- chunks of cheese or meat
- candy (hard candy, jelly beans, gummies, chewing gum)
- popcorn, pretzels, corn chips, and other snack foods
Best Foods For Babies To Prevent Choking
When babies are starting to learn to eat foods, give them options that are small, soft and can be chewed easily, such as:
- Puffs and dry cereal - Puffs and O-shaped dry cereal are some of the most popular first foods. They let baby practise the pincer grasp by picking up one at a time. They also mix well with saliva and are easy for the infant to manage in their mouth without choking.
- Bread and teething biscuits - Small pieces of soft bread (cut off any chewy crust when first starting out) and teething biscuits are another great starter food since they soften quickly.
- Soft fruit - Very ripe fruit is naturally soft, making them some of the best foods for babies. Ripe banana, peach, watermelon, raspberries, blueberries and rockmelon cut into small pieces.
- Avocado - A rich source of omega-3 fatty acids—which can help boost baby’s brain development—avocados are, like puffs.
- Pasta - For a baby, you’ll want to slightly overcook it so it’s nice and soft. To start, use small pasta shapes like orzo or mini shells, or cut up fusilli or penne.
- Cooked vegetables - Steam or roast them until soft, and cut them into small pieces. Try sweet potato, carrot, broccoli, cauliflower or beets.
Most importantly when offering any foods to a baby, please make sure to stop what you are doing and supervise. Choking is often silent, which why it's important to sit with babies while they are eating.
- Choking And Baby-Led Weaning, Sarah Remmer
- Choking and Babies, Azur Redge
- Best finger Foods For Babies, The Bump
Note: This is to be used as a guide only.