Why candies are considered as choking hazards for children?

Fact Checked

Choking is one of the leading causes of death among children below 3 years old and one of the culprits is no other than candies. The size, shape and texture of candies can contribute to the choking risk. Additionally, the sweet flavor of candies makes them enticing to young children who can ingest it without the parent’s supervision or knowledge.

Choking risk on children

It is a known fact that babies have sucking and swallowing reflexes that function well with the glottis which is the small flap of tissue that prevents food from going through the airway. As a child matures, they start to experiment with food. The first teeth are the incisors which are used for biting or tearing food. The child needs molars to chew and grind food into small pieces to be swallowed safely, but the first molars do not erupt until he/she is 18 months old. Remember that children are not able to fully chew and swallow until they are 5 five years old. The best way to stay safe is to avoid giving children any form of sweets or candies.

Once a child chokes, he/she could not cry out or cough. Any treats that are considered dangerous must be kept away from the child.

Hard candy

It is important to note that hard candies pose as a significant threat to young children. Most hard candies easily fit into a child’s throat but those that goes down into the trachea instead of the esophagus can block the airway. Children do not have the teeth or strength to bite down on hard candy and break them into safe pieces. This is also true for suckers or cough drops. Lollipops can break into pieces as the child sucks and lodges into the throat causing a choking incident.

Gummy candy

Even though gummy bears are charming, they are dangerous to young children. The soft texture makes it hard for the child to chew. Actually, when biting down, the candy flexes just like with teething toys. Unlike with the toys, they fit down into the throat. Remember that gummy candies must be avoided as well as those that have hard shells such as jelly beans.

Soft candy

Several soft candies are considered dangerous just like the hard candies. The gooey, soft texture makes these candies difficult to swallow even after they were chewed. Soft candies include taffy, marshmallows and caramels. Even chewing gum is included in this category.


The child must only eat when sitting in a chair at the table. Always keep an eye on the child. Once a child chokes, he/she could not cry out or cough. Any treats that are considered dangerous must be kept away from the child. If you want to be prepared to manage a choking incident, all you have to do is to enroll in a first aid course today in your area so that you will learn basic first aid and CPR.

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