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Preventing Common Childhood Injuries

Age: 9 to 11 Months

Risk: Choking

Mobile babies this age have increased access to small objects, which they can now pick up with a pincer grasp, and are eager to explore with their mouths, even if something tastes unpleasant. Not surprisingly, choking is the main hazard at this age. Infants can choke on objects they encounter on the floor, such as toy parts. The smaller diameter of the airway and gastrointestinal tract in babies makes them more prone to choking.

Other risks that increase at this age include falls from stairs (since babies are now crawling). Poisoning by medication sharply increases and continues to rise, peaking at 21 to 23 months. Injuries in the pool also become more common, as babies in water-orientation classes associate water with safe play.

How to prevent choking:

• Keep plastic bags, balloons, as well as small objects away from young children.

• Do not give children under the age of 4 years nuts, popcorn, hard candy, grapes, raw vegetables, sliced hot dogs, or other foods that could lodge in the throat. Do not let children run or play while eating.

• Do not put anything around a baby's neck. Remove drawstrings from all children's clothing. Keep cribs away from windows where cords from blinds or draperies could strangle a baby.

• Learn infant CPR and emergency choking procedures.

• Follow age guidelines on toy packaging.