Giving young children small items that are dangerous to swallow could be life-threatening, and as many as 40 kids under the age of five end up in hospital every day in the UK from choking.
This is according to findings from CE Safety, which revealed 14 infants have died in the last four years from obstructions.
As a result, it is becoming one of the biggest causes of accidental deaths for children under five years old.
A spokesperson for the organisation stated: “It’s inevitable – babies putting objects in their mouths. It’s their way of exploring the world around them. And while there is no way to prevent taste-testing, keeping small and toxic objects out of reach is essential.”
It reminded parents and au pairs in London that children are not able to master chewing and swallowing for several years, so it is important to monitor them while they are eating to ensure their safety.
While guardians will recognise foods like boiled sweets, nuts and whole grapes are dangerous for children to eat, they might not appreciate that popcorn, cheese chunks and even bread can be hazards too.
According to CE Safety, these are among the most dangerous foods to eat unaccompanied, as well as raw vegetables, chewing gum, chicken with bones, crackers and rice cakes, apple, hot dogs, and marshmallows.
As the windpipe of a young child is only the diameter of a drinking straw, food needs to be cut up in chunks smaller than this to fit through easily.
If you see a child under five choking, the NHS recommends trying to remove the object if it is visible. However, it advises against poking it with your fingers, as this could push it further down.
It suggested encouraging children to continue coughing to help bring up the hazard, but if they are silent or cannot breathe, you should call for help immediately.