No-Go Foods and Choking Hazards for Young Kids

Once they start eating, kids can eat almost anything! That makes it hard to keep track of the few things you should avoid. That’s why we created this page to help you out. Some of these are for health reasons, some are for risk of choking. Kids are more likely to choke on foods for two reasons: they have not fully developed their chewing skills and babies and toddlers have not learned how to clear their throats or cough on command.


Foods that should be avoided in kids less than 1:

  • Cow’s milk, goat’s milk, soy or other alternative milks are not appropriate for kids under 1.  They can have cheese and yogurt.
  • Honey. Due to a risk of botulism, a disease that can cause paralysis and breathing problems in kids, they should not get honey until they are at least 1 year old.
  • Juice. I personally recommend parents try to avoid juice as long as possible because it is just empty calories, but the AAP definitely recommends not giving any baby less than 12 months any beverage other than water or breastmilk/formula.


These foods are choking hazards in kids under 3 and should be avoided:

  • Hard, raw fruits or vegetables, such as apples, green beans, celery, or carrots
  • Round hard candies- including jelly beans
  • Gum
  • Seeds- such as pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Small seeds like chia seeds or flaxseeds are ok.
  • Marshmallows
  • Popcorn (the kernels can cause them to choke)


These foods can be choking hazards in kids and should be modified:

  • Hotdogs: should be cut into quarters and then sliced
  • Sticky foods such as peanut butter: can get stuck in back of the mouth and should be spread on breads, crackers, etc
  • Cherries- should have pits removed
  • Olives: should have pits removed
  • Whole grapes should be cut in quarters
  • Whole cherry tomatoes should be cut in quarters
  • Uncooked greens like arugula or spinach, unless crunchy and easy to chew


There you have it!

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