The Hazards of Choking at Daycare and What Centers Must Do to Protect Your Child

Choking is a common cause of injury at daycare.Young children are naturally curious, and they have a tendency to explore the world around them by putting objects into their mouths. It’s up to the adults who are supervising them to ensure that choking hazards are kept out of their reach. This includes small objects as well as food items that are difficult to chew properly.

If your child has experienced choking at daycare because they were not supervised properly, you might be entitled to damages. We invite you to contact The Button Law Firm to discuss your case as well as the injuries and pain and suffering your child has endured.

Choking on Food

The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that choking is a leading cause of injury among children who are age four and younger. Food, depending on its size, shape, and consistency, can be particularly hazardous.

There are certain food items that are flagged as high risk for choking because they can be difficult for children under the age of four to chew properly. These include:

  • Hot dogs
  • Sausages
  • Chunks of cheese or fruit
  • Hard candies
  • Whole grapes
  • Apples
  • Raw vegetables such as carrots
  • Popcorn
  • Gummies
  • Raisins
  • Marshmallows
  • Nuts and seeds

Other Choking Hazards

Children often put items in their mouths that are not foods. Adults must be diligent about keeping the following out of the hands—and mouths—of young children:

  • Small batteries
  • Safety pins
  • Legos and other small toys
  • Balloons
  • Pen caps
  • Jewelry
  • Marbles
  • Stones or small rocks
  • Magnets
  • Loose change

Choking and Children With Special Needs

Children with developmental disabilities are at a higher risk of choking. Medical conditions that increase the probability of choking include:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Down syndrome
  • Brain injury
  • Neurological, muscular, and seizure disorders
  • Dysphasia (difficulty swallowing)

Other contributing factors include eating and drinking too quickly, having poor posture when eating and drinking, and swallowing non-edible items.

Daycares must be educated as to these increased risks, ensuring their employees are diligent about monitoring all children.

How Daycares Can Reduce the Risk of Choking Accidents

A daycare center should be a safe haven for children, and safety measures should be in place to prevent choking incidents among the children who are there. When you are researching daycare centers for your child, make sure all employees are certified in CPR and that there are enough staff members per child to ensure proper supervision. We offer a free guide that can help ensure you are placing your child in a safe daycare center, 11 Tips to Help Parents Search for a Safe Daycare.

Daycare staff must monitor all areas of the facility that are accessible by young children to ensure that choking hazards are not present. Daycare workers must also monitor children carefully during mealtime to help reduce the chances of a food-choking injury. The following steps are essential:

  • Children should be discouraged from talking, laughing, or moving around while they are eating.
  • Children must be supervised while they are snacking or eating meals.
  • Food should be cut up into small pieces.
  • Children should be encouraged to chew their food completely before trying to swallow.

Small children lack safety awareness, and a split second of inattentiveness on the part of a daycare employee can lead to significant injury or even death in a child.

The Daycare May Be Legally Responsible for Your Child’s Choking Injury

If your child has choked at daycare, you probably believe that the employees should have been supervising your child more closely or should have reacted more quickly once choking began. Is the daycare legally responsible? Only a thorough investigation can reveal the facts that indicate why the choking incident occurred. 

Give us a call so we can help you find out what happened and get you and your child the compensation you deserve. We can also help to ensure this doesn’t happen to other children at the daycare center.

To find out more, contact us for an initial consultation. If your child has been hurt because of choking, please read A Five-Step Guide for Parents Dealing With a Daycare Injury.