Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
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Monroe Carell Jr.
Children's Hospital
at Vanderbilt
2200 Children's Way
Nashville, TN 37232

(615) 936-1000

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Preventing Choking, Suffocation and Strangulation


Follow these tips to prevent choking, suffocation, and strangulation.

Food-related choking

  • Make sure your child is seated when eating, not lying down or playing.
  • Do not let children under 3 eat small, round, or hard food including nuts, grapes, hard candies, popcorn, and sliced hot dogs.
  • Cut foods into small pieces. Give infants soft foods they do not need to chew.

Toy-related choking

  • Ensure the toys that your child plays with are age-appropriate. Toys are labeled for specific age groups.
  • Use a small parts tester to determine whether toys or other items in your home may be a potential choking hazard. An empty toilet paper roll is sufficient. 
  • Check toys for damage on a regular basis.  
  • Keep small objects such as coins, tacks, beads, buttons, and marbles out of reach and sight of your child.
  • Sign up to receive product recall information and news from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.


  • Never allow young children to play in poorly ventilated places such as toy chests, laundry machines, or car trunks.
  • Create a safe sleep environment for your infant to prevent suffocation.


  • Ensure all loose window blind cords are out of reach of children.  
  • If possible, avoid dressing your child in clothing that includes drawstrings, necklaces, or scarves.

Need to childproof your home? Visit the Safety Store at Children's Hospital for supplies.

More information

Last Edited: October 28, 2016
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