I’m a first aider and here’s the life-threatening food mistakes all parents make


MEAL times can be hard work for parents – especially if your little one is a fussy eater.

To get them to eat even a morsel of veg, you’ve likely tried every trick in the book.


Parents will do anything to get their children to eat their greens, including cutting veggies into different shapes and sizesCredit: Getty
One first aider revealed that you should avoid certain shapes when feeding your little one, to avoid choking


One first aider revealed that you should avoid certain shapes when feeding your little one, to avoid chokingCredit: instagram

But one first aider has warned that some parents could be making life-threatening mistakes when it comes to dishing up.

Paediatric nurse and mum Sarah Hunstead said when it comes to choking prevention, the shape of your child’s food is important.

Posting to the CPRKids Instagram account she said: “Cutting up foods into developmentally appropriate size shapes is key to prevent choking.

“Round foods such as grapes, cherry tomatoes and large blueberries are the perfect shape to lodge in a toddler’s airway and should be cut into quarters, and cylindrical foods such as bananas, sausages and carrots cut into sticks.⁠

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“Also – avoid foods such as popcorn, marshmallows, hard sweets and whole nuts in young children.⁠”

If your child has swallowed something and is choking then one of the first things to look out for is if your child is clutching their chest or neck and is struggling to speak.

If their face has turned pale or blueish then this could be a sign and if they are violently coughing – then this is a sign they are trying to remove whatever has become stuck.

With younger children it could be that they have a high-pitched sound when breathing in.

Knowing what actions to take if a child is choking could be life saving.

Experts at the Red Cross said you need to remember the five blows rule.

They explained: “Hit them firmly on their back between the shoulder blades.

“Backblows create a strong vibration and pressure in the airway, which is often enough to dislodge the blockage. Dislodging the blockage will allow them to breathe again.”

If the child is young then you need to put them over your lap, then give up to five sharp back blows with the heel of one hand in the middle of the back between the shoulder blades.

If the five back blows don’t work then you need to give five abdominal thrusts.

To successfully do this you need to hold the child around the waist and pull inwards and upwards above their belly button.

This squeezes the air out of the lungs and will hopefully dislodge the blockage.

The NHS says: “This will create an artificial cough, increasing pressure in the chest and helping to dislodge the object”.


Cutting your child’s food up into stick shapes is a great way to keep them safe.

But this change in routine could disrupt their regular pattern and one intuitive eating expert said you shouldn’t pressurise little ones to eat their greens, as it almost always ‘backfires’.

The registered nutritionist and founder of the London Centre for Intuitive Eating (LCIE), Laura Thomas said parents need to develop a ‘positive feeding relationship’.

She said: “Feeding a family can be hard enough without trying to live up to what we see on Instagram.

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“You don’t have to cut little hearts out of your kid’s cucumber or cut sandwiches into little trees, sometimes beans on toast is all you have capacity for, and that’s good enough.

“There’s an enormous amount of pressure on parents to feed their kids ‘perfectly’ that it often comes at the expense of parent’s own wellbeing and often leads to more pickiness and other problems for the kids.”

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