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Choking Hazards

Parents and those who look after small children are being warned to be more aware of the potentially fatal risks small fruit like grapes and cherry tomatoes can pose.


There is widespread awareness of the choking hazard of small toys, but it is less well known that food causes more than half of the fatal choking incidents in children under 5. Small, round food, like grapes and cherry tomatoes for example, have a smooth surface that can form a tight seal of the throat which is difficult to dislodge – even with proper first aid. Younger children have narrower throats and airways and their teeth aren’t completely formed yet which means they have a reduced ability to chew properly.


Grapes are the third most common cause of food-related fatal choking episodes, after hotdogs and sweets. The risks can be drastically cut by taking a few seconds to quarter them. That is something we really need parents or people who look after young children at any time to be aware of. It’s a tiny change but one that really could save a child’s life.”


The specially produced video from NHS Grampian Public Health is available to view at: