I'm a first aid expert – here's the everyday kids’ choking hazards you never knew | The Sun

IF you're a parent or carer, it might seem like a constant battle when it comes to keeping an eye on your children.

Whether they are chasing the dog around or getting Lego everywhere, it might seem like they are always up to something.

One thing all parents are often on the lookout for though, is choking hazards.

Most toys and packaging come with warnings, but there are just some products we know not to leave little ones unattended with.

Now, one first aider has revealed a surprising item that you might not have considered to be potentially dangerous.

Paediatric nurse and mum Sarah Hunstead said one item that comes up a lot, is stickers.

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Posting to the CPR Kids platform on Instagram, she showed an image of a small butterfly sticker, which measures 1cm, which had originally been published by University of British Columbia.

The guru explained: "It can be a little daunting, the things that little ones will put in their mouth and can possibly choke on!.

"Stickers are relatively common transglottic laryngeal foreign body (read – choking hazard).

"Similar problems have been caused by a pencil shaving, a piece of eggshell and the torn corner of a ketchup packet."⁠

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The sticker pictured above had become stuck between a toddler's vocal cords.

They explained that this caused a weak, hoarse cry; noise when breathing both in and out; and a cough that sounded like a dog or a seal barking.

The sticker had to be removed with forceps, causing brief bleeding of the inflammatory tissue that had been incited by the foreign body.

Experts at 'Be Smart Don't Choke' also listed other foreign bodies that are dangerous to children.

Gel candies or mini fruit gels, they said, are 'probably the world's most dangerous choking hazard'.

This is because they can completely block breathing and if stuck in the throat, can melt into a sticky glue which is then hard to remove from the airway.

Another food to be wary of, they said, is hotdogs.

What to do if your child chokes

The NHS says if you can see an object lodged in your child’s mouth, take care to remove it because blindly poking at it could make things worse.

If the child is coughing, encourage them to continue as they may be able to bring the object up. Don't leave them.

If the coughing isn’t effective (it is silent or they cannot breathe properly), shout for help immediately.

If the child is still conscious, use back blows. 

First aiders at St John Ambulance give the following advice based on the child’s age.


  1. Slap it out:
  • Lay the baby face down along your thigh and support their head  
  • Give five back blows between their shoulder blades  
  • Turn them over and check their mouth each time  

2. Squeeze it out:

  • Turn the baby over, face upwards, supported along your thigh 
  • Put two fingers in the centre of their chest just below the nipple line; push downwards to give up to five sharp chest thrusts 
  • Check the mouth each time  

3. If the item does not dislodge, call 999 or 112 for emergency help  

  • Take the baby with you to call  
  • Repeat the steps 1 and 2 until help arrives 
  • Start CPR if the baby becomes unresponsive (unconscious)  


1. Cough it out  

  • Encourage the casualty to keep coughing, if they can 

2. Slap it out  

  • Lean them forwards, supporting them with one hand 
  • Give five sharp back blows between the shoulder blades 
  • Check their mouth each time but do not put your fingers in their mouth  

3. Squeeze it out  

  • Stand behind them with your arms around their waist, with one clenched fist between their belly button and the bottom of their chest 
  • Grasp the fist in the other hand and pull sharply inwards and upwards, giving up to five abdominal thrusts 
  • Check their mouth each time  

4. Call 999 or 112 for emergency help if the object does not dislodge  

  • Repeat steps 2 and 3 until help arrives 
  • Start CPR if the person becomes unresponsive (unconscious) 

5. Always seek medical advice if abdominal thrusts are used 

All kids are at risk of choking – especially those under the age of three.

They added: "Until children are at least 5 years old, please cut hot dogs lengthwise twice; then chop into small pieces."

And it's the same for grapes, cherries and tomatoes, they said.

Other hazards, experts explained, include disc batteries.

It was previously reported that a toddler slowly bled to death after secretly swallowing a button battery.

Johnathan Huff, 23 months, was initially suspected to have had a viral infection.

But after two trips to the doctor he vomited vast amounts of blood and fell unconscious at home.

Dad AJ, 34, performed CPR as mum Jackie, 35, gave him the kiss of life but he died in hospital.

A button battery from a key finder remote was later found in his intestines.

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His devastated parents believe he swallowed it on December 16 and it spent four days burning through his organs.

In May 2021, it was also found that dozens of children had needed life-saving surgery after swallowing mini magnets – another product the experts say to stay away from.

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