An object can become stuck in the airway at any age but is most
common in children younger than age 3. Although a child may not have any
symptoms when something is stuck in his or her airway, any of the following
symptoms may occur:
Rapid, noisy, or high-pitched
swallowing, or the complete inability to swallow
Refusal to eat solids
Pain in the neck, chest, or
Since a small child may put anything in his or her mouth, it is
important to be aware of what is within reach. The windpipe is about the same
size as the diameter of your child's little finger. It is best to keep objects
less than 1.25 in. (3.2 cm) out
of a child's reach.
Pieces of food, such as hot dogs, peanuts, popcorn, and candy, are
the most common objects that cause airway blockage, with round foods being most
frequent. Small parts of a toy, the eyes sewn on a doll, or buttons from
clothing can become stuck in the air passage. Latex balloons are particularly
hazardous, because even a tiny piece can completely block the airway.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.