I’m a first aid expert – here’s the food that causes the most choking incidents in children

IT’S key to supervise your little ones when they are eating in order to avoid their food getting lodged in their throat.

When giving babies or young children new foods to try, it’s important to be wary of their shape and size.


One first aider has revealed the food that causes the most choking incidents in childrenCredit: Getty
Nikki Jurcutz said hotdogs need to be cut up a certain way to avoid issues


Nikki Jurcutz said hotdogs need to be cut up a certain way to avoid issuesCredit: tiktok/tinyheartseducation

Now one first aid expert has revealed the food that causes the most choking incidents in children and surprisingly, it’s not smaller foods likes grapes or blueberries.

Taking to the Tiny Hearts Education TikTok page, CEO, first aider and former paramedic Nikki Jurcutz said hot dogs cause more choking deaths than any other food.

She posted a video which showed a small tube and a hot dog sausage, with the tube imitating a child’s airway.

“If you were to design the perfect plug for a child’s airway you couldn’t do much better than a hot dog,” she quoted Gary Smith, the managing director of the Centre for Injury Research as saying.

In the clip, she shows how the hot dog would get stuck in the airway.

She also explained that you should never slice the food item into coin-like shapes as these small chunks could also become lodged in a child’s airway.

Instead, she said you should slice it lengthways.

Nikki then shows the difference between the two ways and how this would prevent your little one choking on the food.

“This way, even if it gets into the airway it does not completely occlude (obstruct) it,” she said.

What to do if your child chokes

It’s a parents worst nightmare to imagine a situation in which they have to save their child from choking.

But in that moment, it may be you who will have to step up and perform first aid.

The NHS says if you can see an object lodged in your child’s mouth, take care to remove it because blindly poking at it could make things worse.

If the child is coughing, encourage them to continue as they may be able to bring the object up. Don’t leave them.

If the coughing isn’t effective (it is silent or they cannot breathe properly), shout for help immediately.

If the child is still conscious, use back blows. 

First aiders at St John Ambulance give the following advice based on the child’s age.


  1. Slap it out:
  • Lay the baby face down along your thigh and support their head  
  • Give five back blows between their shoulder blades  
  • Turn them over and check their mouth each time  

2. Squeeze it out:

  • Turn the baby over, face upwards, supported along your thigh 
  • Put two fingers in the centre of their chest just below the nipple line; push downwards to give up to five sharp chest thrusts 
  • Check the mouth each time  

3. If the item does not dislodge, call 999 or 112 for emergency help  

  • Take the baby with you to call  
  • Repeat the steps 1 and 2 until help arrives 
  • Start CPR if the baby becomes unresponsive (unconscious)  


1. Cough it out  

  • Encourage the casualty to keep coughing, if they can 

2. Slap it out  

  • Lean them forwards, supporting them with one hand 
  • Give five sharp back blows between the shoulder blades 
  • Check their mouth each time but do not put your fingers in their mouth  

3. Squeeze it out  

  • Stand behind them with your arms around their waist, with one clenched fist between their belly button and the bottom of their chest 
  • Grasp the fist in the other hand and pull sharply inwards and upwards, giving up to five abdominal thrusts 
  • Check their mouth each time  

4. Call 999 or 112 for emergency help if the object does not dislodge  

  • Repeat steps 2 and 3 until help arrives 
  • Start CPR if the person becomes unresponsive (unconscious) 
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5. Always seek medical advice if abdominal thrusts are used 

All kids are at risk of choking – especially those under the age of three.

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