Child Safety Scotland

Choking and Suffocation


Children can swallow, inhale or choke on items such as food, small objects from older children's toys and nappy sacks. Babies and young children are most at risk as they explore by putting things they find around them in their mouths.



Nappy sacks have been implicated in the choking and suffocation of babies under 12 months so never store nappy sacks within your child's reach and do not give them to a child to play with while you are changing their nappy.

Babies like to wriggle and squirm around and to avoid the risk of suffocation it is recommended that you do not use pillows or duvets for young children, thus reducing the risk of them getting trapped under the covers.


In general

Food should be cut up into small pieces and young children should be supervised when they are eating. Children should also be encouraged to sit still while eating.

Small objects like coins and batteries should be kept away from young children and be mindful of older children's toys that could pose a choking risk. Encourage older children to keep their toys away from their younger siblings or playmates.

Amber teething necklaces can present a choking hazard to babies if the beads and clasp were to become detached. There is also the risk of strangulation with having any type of cord placed around a child's neck so be mindful of this when looking for teething products.

Plastic bags should be kept away from children as they are not a toy to be played with. This will help prevent a child from pulling one over their head and getting into difficulty.