Choking is a common cause of injury and death in young children, primarily because their small airways are easily obstructed especially children under age 4 are particularly at risk.
Babies and small children examine things by putting them in their mouth, this is how they learn about their surroundings and their world.Therefore it is a risk that small toys or small parts from toys and other products can get stuck in children’s throats or get sucked into the lungs. The child can get injuries on the airways or get choked.
Lack of oxygen to the brain for more than four minutes may result in brain damage or death. Airway obstruction can occur when children choke on an object that is blocking the airway, suffocate on items that block or cover the airways.
The best way to prevent this kind of accidents is to keep small objects out of reach of small children.
Choose sturdy and well-made toys that can stand up against being bitten, tugged, sucked, jumped on and thrown around without falling apart.
Pick age-appropriate toys.
Choose toys suitable for your child’s age, abilities and skill level. Avoid toys with detachable parts. Be sure to follow the age recommendation – particularly the 0 to 3 symbol and the words ‘not suitable for children under 36 months.
Stuffed toys like teddy bears and cuddle dolls may seem harmless but ensure that parts such as eyes, nose, buttons and other small parts are securely fixed to the bear or doll and that the clothes not can be easily removed by pulling, chewing or washing. For children up to three years, ensure that the doll’s limb or head is not removable because if the parts are too small they can be a choking hazard.
Soft toys can contain filling that is dangerous for young children, like plastic beads. If the toy breaks, children under three years old can suffer serious injuries or illness. They can choke on small parts or filling that they have placed in their mouths and inhaled. Ask the shop if you feel uncertain. Stuffed toys should be washable. Check toy cars, trucks and other vehicles to make sure that wheels, tires or other small parts not are lose or removable.
Toys that children have in or near their mouth like rattles or teeth rings shall have round forms which must be large enough, so they not fit completely into your child’s mouth and not have long narrow shafts. The shafts can get too far in the mouth and harm your child’s throat or block the windpipe. The last warning is especially for children that cannot sit up by themselves yet.
Even the packaging the toy comes in can be dangerous! Remove packaging, prize tags and other things and discard packaging immediately before giving the toy to the child. Make sure your child do not play with plastic packaging as it could be a risk of suffocation.
Inspect your home for choking hazards.
Check under your furniture and between seat cushions for choking hazards, such as coins, marbles, watch batteries, buttons, dices and/or pen or marker caps.
Watch up with peanuts.
Keep toys and games for older children separate from those for younger children.
Have a designated area for small parts out of reach of small children and teach your older children to store their “dangerous toys” there.
Use a Small Part Cylinder
With a Small Part Cylinder you can check all small things that could be dangerous for your child to put in her/his mouth. The Small Part Cylinder have the same size as a three year old child’s windpipe.
Try all toys and small parts in the cylinder. If they go completely into the cylinder then they are dangerous to your child. Things that does not go into the cylinder can still be dangerous to put in the mouth. Small balls and other round things that can block the air flow.
Playtime Seychelles has donated 100 small part cylinders to Seychelles Hospital Maternity Ward.