I have to admit, I wasn’t keen on reading that New York Times article, “Keeping Little Breaths Flowing,” about babies choking, but seeing as I have choking on my mind constantly, I didn’t want to miss out on anything.
My daughters are at prime choking hazard age. At 9 months and 13 months, they’re shoveling everything they can find into their mouths. I love their is-it-or-isn’t-it-edible curiosity–but it’s giving me a heart attack.
The Times article reminded me that babies should not be eating snacks on the move. (I’m guilty of handing over a bagel or two while my girls are in the stroller). I already keep a strict, eat-in-the-high-chair-only policy, but that’s mostly an attempt at keeping some part of the apartment free from sticky floors. I’m glad to have an even better reason now.
Still, it’s amazing how much a baby can make you feel like a jerk for not allowing them to eat pretzels while dancing on the couch.
When I’m not chopping food into little bits and imploring my daughters to “Chew it up good,” “Slow down,” or “Show me what’s in your mouth,” I’m writing choking protocols at work for adults with similar behaviors due to their developmental disabilities. We have the same guidelines. No popcorn, gum, peanut butter, hard meats, fish with bone, etc. etc. Everyone is monitored for signs of choking while they are eating. I also include twice daily “environmental sweeps” whereby an assigned staff member must walk through our facility and look (visually “sweep”) for choking hazards such as buttons, beads and coins that may have fallen onto the floor or other surfaces. I find myself doing the same thing at home each morning and evening.
I wonder how long I’m going to obsess over choking precautions. Will I be cutting their meat when they’re teenagers? I hope I don’t become one of those moms!
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