Foods to avoid and ways to prevent choking.

Fish is a good source of protein and omega-3 fats, which are important for brain and eye development. Some fish are high in mercury which can be harmful to your child's nervous system and brain. Mercury cannot be removed or reduced by cleaning or cooking fish.

Honey. Avoid any type of honey, including pasteurized honey until your child is one year old. This also includes foods cooked with honey, such as graham crackers. Honey may contain botulism spores which could be fatal.

Raw or undercooked meat, poultry and eggs

  • Cook all meats until they are well-done: brown, not pink. Make sure meat is cooked to the safe internal temperature of 74oC/165oF.
  • Cook eggs until hard, with no soft or runny yolk. Try scrambled, hard boiled or hard poached eggs.

Unpasteurized juice and dairy products including raw milk and soft cheeses like brie, camembert and feta. Always check the food label.

Raw sprouts, deli meats, hot dogs and raw or smoked seafood products must be cooked well (to an internal temperature of 74oC/165oF) before they can be offered to toddlers less than two years of age. Cooking them will reduce the risk of listeriosis.

Food safety tips

Gagging and choking

Gagging is not the same as choking. Gagging is a normal part of learning how to eat. It happens when food moves to the back of the tongue too quickly before your child is ready to swallow. Your child needs to cough it forward. If your child gags, stay calm. Don't pat them on the back as that can push the object down the airway.

Choking happens when food gets stuck in the airway and causes your child to stop breathing. Choking is life threatening.

Tips on making eating safer

  • Have your child sit up while eating.
  • Use a baby spoon or small teaspoon to feed your child.
  • Always supervise while your child is eating.
  • Offer a variety of soft textures.
  • Be sure to give only a few pieces at one time on their tray.
  • Remove bones from chicken and fish.
  • Do not put cereal or other solids into a bottle.
  • Avoid hard or sticky foods like nuts, seeds, popcorn, candies and gum. Find a list of foods that can cause choking.