To Cut or Not to Cut? Grapes and Other Common Choking Hazards

  • Parents Only

By: Lisa Wolff, ellaslist

Grapes! The cause of World War 3 in our household. I am obsessed with cutting these juicy green globes before giving them to my kids to eat. My husband thinks I’m an over-protective neurotic mum, who’s just a little crazy.

So I did a bit of digging around – was I really over-reacting about these potential fruity killers?

Choking Tragedy – So Easy to Happen

NO! There have been a number of tragic deaths in the last few years of kids choking on grapes. Only a few months ago, two-year-old Jacob Jenkins died after a grape got lodged in his throat eating out at a Pizza Hut with his family. It’s enough to ban the fruit for good.

The RIGHT Way to Cut Grapes

But what I did discover was that I was cutting the grapes all wrong. I was cutting them width ways – which apparently is almost as dangerous as whole grapes. The way to do it is length-ways so the fruit is more like a narrow sliver that can easily slip through the airways as opposed to getting lodged there.

[caption id="" align=“alignnone” width=“400”] Image Credit: Sophie Jackson’s Facebook Page[/caption]

Wow, I can’t believe I got that so wrong! So what other choking hazards was I dishing out to my kids?

Top Choking Hazards

According to a study of children admitted to the emergency room for choking, the top culprit is hard lollies, followed by soft lollies. The other top foods that can be blamed for choking include:

  • Meat (not hot dogs)

  • Bone

  • Fruits and vegetables

  • Formula, milk or breast milk

  • Seeds, nuts or shells

  • Chips, pretzels or popcorn

  • Biscuits, cookies or crackers

  • Hot dogs

  • Bread or pastries

  • French fries

[caption id="" align=“alignnone” width=“900”] Keep Your Kids Away from These Foods[/caption]

The Most Dangerous Foods

Foods that may pose a greater choking risk to children include those that are similar in shape to the child’s airway (for example hot dogs), those that are difficult to chew (such as raw fruits and veggies) or those that are eaten by the handful (such as seeds and nuts), the researchers said.

An Anti-Choking Guide According to Age

Pregnancy and early-years parenting site, Babycenter, have categorised risky choking food by age:

Babies: 12 and 24 months

A chunk of food larger than a pea can get stuck in your child’s throat.

Carrot, celery, green beans: diced, shredded, cooked and cut up

Grapes, cherry tomatoes, and melon balls: cut into quarters before serving

Meats and cheeses: cut or shredded into very small pieces

If you are giving your child peanut butter, make sure you spread it thinly as a large dollop of peanut butter can be hard for kids to swallow all at once.

Hard sweets, cough sweets, nuts, and popcorn: These foods should be avoided completely:

Seeds: may be too small to choke on but may get stuck in a child’s airway and cause an infection.

Chewing gum and marshmallows, jelly or gummy candies: may get lodged in your child’s throat.

2 Years and older

Your child may be a more competent eater once they reach 2 years old. However they should still concentrate on their food and not be distracted while eating.

Parents should still be wary of giving young children popcorn, whole nuts, hard lollies, and chewing gum.

What Can I Do if they Choke?

If your child does choke, here are some valuable tips shared from Follow these and you will hopefully save your childs’ life.