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The holidays are a time when parents can get distracted and kids are excited, which is one reason that emergency rooms report being very busy this season. One of the big risks is choking. Food is one of the most responsible reasons for choking accidents in kids under the age of 5.

According to, here are four great ways to prevent choking:

  1. Be extra careful when eating and serving certain foods that are easy to choke on. They include things like: hot dogs, nuts, grapes, raw carrots, popcorn, and hard or gooey candy. Parents should check food labels to make sure the food isn’t the kind that can lead to choking.
  2. Kids should sit down, take small bites, and try not to talk or laugh with their mouths full. More than good manners are at stake. Following this advice will help prevent choking.
  3. Look out for the little guys — and girls. Babies and toddlers love to put things in their mouths, so help keep them safe by picking up anything off the floor that might be dangerous to swallow — like deflated balloons, pen caps, coins, beads, and batteries. Keep toys with small parts out of reach, and never share your food or candy with a baby unless an adult says it’s OK.
  4. Learn the Heimlich maneuver. It’s usually taught as part of any basic first-aid course — the kind that might be held by the Red Cross, the YMCA, the American Heart Association, schools, or hospitals in your community. Who knows? You could be a lifesaver someday!