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Preventing Airway Related Incidents and Death in Children

Terri Forehand

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First, check out the sleeping arrangements. Infants and children should sleep on a firm mattress, and infants should be placed on their backs to sleep in their own crib. Pillows and heavy comforters, as well as stuffed toys should be removed from the crib. And check the eyes to all those stuffed toys for toddlers. Do they have button eyes that a child could pull off and swallow? And how about those stuffed animal noses?

Next, get on your hands and knees and follow me. Look for things at the eye level of your child. Remove small items like buttons, coins, pins, or nails which may be on the floor. Keep all plastic and plastic bags out of reach. Observe for cords to lamps, blinds, or appliances that may hang where an infant or child could become strangled.

It is time for a snack. Avoid choking episodes by cutting food into small pieces and avoiding small round food items for children under three. No hard candy, popcorn, nuts or whole grapes. Fruit and hotdogs should be sliced thinly and cut into quarters. Always supervise infants, toddlers, and small children while they eat.

Mealtime is finished so back to the playroom we go. Inspect toys for age appropriate items and keep small parts and toys away from toddlers. Make sure the toy chest does not have a hinged lid to prevent suffocation if a child empties the toys and climbs in for that game of hide and seek.

Last, but not least, look at your child's clothing. Remove hood and neck strings for all children's clothing. Clip pacifiers to clothing with short ribbons and not long cords. Never put a long cord like necklace, ribbon, or bib with ties on an infant. Never hang anything above a crib or infant seat on a string or cord longer than 7 inches.

Follow these simple guidelines to protect your infant and child from airway injuries. Take a journey through your home once and again to appreciate what is at your child's eye level and to remove anything that has suddenly become an airway hazard.

For more information on children coping with illness or death and dying issues, or health and safety tips for children visit
Visit for an interactive website where kids can blog or read articles geared towards them.

Terri Forehand is a pediatric critical care nurse and freelance writer. She has a passion for kids of all ages, especially kids who are fighting against tough illnesses and diseases. Visit her blog and website for more information. She is currently working on fiction for kids.


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