I keep seeing all these various posts flying around Facebook at the moment about not letting your children eat certain foods because another child has choked on them and they are suddenly now deemed a complete danger to children.
Now, as a policy. On the Millie’s Trust page, we refuse to share anything that has not been officially recalled because if one of these posts just happened not to be true, it could potentially ruin the business of whatever product it was.
So, after seeing a few of these flying around social media this week, I decided to do a little experiment whilst I was doing my weekly shop today (much to Leo’s dismay having to spend 15 minutes back and forth on the sweet aisle).
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I wanted to have a look at what confectionary products actually came with a choking warning on them because as you all know, certain sweets etc can be a certain type and shape and this may cause an obstruction much more easily.
So my experiment went like this.
I picked up random sweets on the aisle that I considered to be a choking hazard to a child under the age of 3.
I’m sad to say that in those 15 minutes, I only actually found 4 items that had a hazardous notice on the back of them. Here is a photo below .. I haven’t used the brand names on here as it’s not fair on the manufacturers, some of them could be own supermarket brands and some of them could be nationally well known brands.
Did you know that the small chocolate eggs had a warning for children under the age of 4?
There is a reason for these warnings. It is to stop adults giving them to children when they are small. Be it because the actual sweet could cause a full blockage or the toy parts with the chocolate could be a choking hazard (see photo below)
The fact is, is that the manufacturer has put a warning on these products but I still see children under these ages time and time again being given these products, having their lives put at risk by the person who has given it to them because there is a clear warning on the packaging and they have chosen to ignore it.
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Why? Why on earth would you give in and give a 2 year old a chocolate egg not meant for children under the age of 4.
I was actually shocked that I couldn’t find a marshmallow packet or a hard boiled sweet packet with a choking hazard warning on them – because these products due to the consistency and/or shape are up there on the high risk, just like grapes and sausages that haven’t been cut in the correct way before being given to children.
Then we have the other extreme though, check out the photo below, how many of these products have you happily given your 1 year old child? Don’t worry, it’s fine to do so. So don’t feel guilty when you look at the photo…
My point is, is that everything is a choking hazard to children. Just remember, our daughter choked on mash and passed away and she was an extremely competent eater. We were utterly shocked when we were told it was mash (I can’t stand writing/saying/hearing this word) that Millie had choked on as we had originally been told she had been eating Shepherd’s Pie, we were expecting to be told that she had choked on a piece of meat, but no, it was the mash from the meal.
Grapes, sausages, toast, fruit, bacon etc etc etc
A lot of the time, it’s not about the product. It’s about the preparation of the food, it’s about you spending the time to sit with your child and be there with them whilst they eat their meal.
- The emails can wait
- The phone calls can wait
- The hoovering can wait
- The doorbell can wait
- The texts can wait
Focus on your child. It is THAT SIMPLE.
- Prepare food correctly
- Cut it to the correct size
- Cut it in the correct manner
Two of my biggest gripes. Now, some of you are going to hate me for saying this, some of you are going to be sat there saying “What is she going on about? I do that!” Maybe you won’t after reading a little further … my gripes are
- Giving children food in a forward facing pushchair
- Giving children food in the back of a car when there is no adult in the back seat with them.
Think about this for a second.
If your child went quiet in pushchair after eating some fruit for example, that you had given them, would your first thought be “they’re choking” … I am pretty confident that most of you would just think that they had fallen asleep… by the time you realise, it’s too late.
And all because you wanted to keep them quiet for 5 minutes and food would be a distraction.
When someone is choking and silent – it’s a full blockage, the worst kind. They need help. NOW.
Just as a side note here, Leo had a tantrum whilst in the supermarket today because I wouldn’t let him eat a cake whilst pushing him in the trolley. He literally screamed blue murder for 3 or 4 aisles in the supermarket, maybe less than 10 mins … did it bother me? No. Why? Because I wasn’t going to give in and let him eat something whilst I was distracted shopping. He could wait. He eventually got bored of screaming and started to point everything out in the supermarket. I could see the sympathy from other parents about my screaming child, which was great! These parents had all been there with a screaming child, it’s fine. It will be over soon, don’t give in. I didn’t, he didn’t get the cake. He got it, when we got home for after his dinner.
Now let’s use the exact same theory in a car;
How long would it take you to pull over on the hard shoulder in moving traffic once you realise that your child was choking? Probably longer than the time needed for the damage already to be done.
Many people are surprised to hear that Dan and I think like this after losing Millie. The fact is, is that anyone can choke on anything.
Preparation is key.
Take the time out not to rush food.
Learn what to do if the worst was to happen.
I hope that many of you reading this will now consider reading the back of food products before you give them to your small children. There’s nothing stopping you giving them to them but consider cutting them up, just like you would a grape. Consider whether the consistency of the product (particularly sticky) is appropriate for the age of your child. Consider the toy product that might come in a gift set with an Easter Egg.
It’s about thinking. It’s about common sense. It’s about prioritising.
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