At least one child dies every five days from choking on food, and candy accounts for almost 30% of choking episodes. With Halloween just around the corner, here’s how to save a life and to keep the snacking safe for both adult and child.

Adults who eat fast, have been drinking alcohol, have difficulty chewing, or have a musculoskeletal or neurological disease (e.g., stroke, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, or multiple sclerosis) and have difficulty swallowing, are at risk for choking. Find out which foods are the most hazardous to adults and children.

Act Fast!

When an object lodges in the throat or windpipe, it blocks air from entering the lungs, and cuts off oxygen to the brain.

Brain damage begins after only 4 minutes without oxygen, so it’s critical that you know how to respond in a choking emergency.

How to Be Prepared

  1. Know the Heimlich maneuver (a.k.a. abdominal thrusts) for adults and children.
  2. Know Infant Heimlich Maneuver (back blows and chest thrusts with 2 fingers).
  3. Know CPR if the choking victim shows no signs of life (i.e., unconscious and not breathing).
  4. Have a LifeVac. The LifeVac is a non-invasive airway clearance device that can suction obstructions out of the airway due to its patented one-way valve.

Keep a LifeVac home kit where you eat and a travel kit that goes with you to restaurants and outings.

Safer Treats to Eat

Opt for larger treats that melt or dissolve in the mouth, such as chocolate bars, animal crackers, or cupcakes.

Karen’s Fit Tip: Practice vigilance and preparedness. Even if you have a LifeVac, be sure to learn the Heimlich maneuver and CPR.

Karen Owoc

I’m a Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Clinical Exercise Physiologist certified by the American College of Sports Medicine, KRON 4's weekly health expert, speaker, and author of my book on functional longevity, “Athletes in Aprons: The Nutrition Playbook to Break 100".

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