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Food Safety Focus (187th Issue, February 2022) – Article 3

Minimise Choking Hazards from Foods for Young Children

Incidents of choking in children have been reported from time to time. Because of the size, shape and texture, some foods are more likely to cause choking. This is especially true for young children under five years old.

In general, some foods like konjac (hard) jellies, Lunar New Year puddings, glutinous rice balls, chewing gum, marshmallows, hard or sticky candies, ice cubes, whole nuts and direct consumption of peanut butter and nut spreads without spreading should be avoided.

Measures can be taken to reduce the choking risk of certain foods consumed by young children. Cut hard vegetables (carrots, cucumbers, etc.) into narrow sticks and large or firm fruits (melons, apples, etc.) into slices. Soften them by cooking or mashing for younger children. Peel the skins of fruits and vegetables. Cut small fruits (grapes, cherries, berries, cherry tomatoes, etc.) into small quarters. Check for fragments of pips or stones when preparing fruits. For sausages, remove the skin and slice them thinly. Cut breads into thin strips.