Our Mommy MD Guide’s reply: I’m very nervous about choking. I never allow my daughter to eat alone. Quite frankly I don’t think anyone, of any age, should eat alone. Now that I have a daughter I find myself avoiding eating while running up and down the stairs or driving in a car. I imagine myself choking to death when she is home alone with me and then where would we be?!
I cut round, hard foods, such as hot dogs and carrots, into small pieces before giving them to my daughter. I never let my daughter eat hard candy or chew gum.
Even with that neuroticism, my daughter had a choking episode. One day, my daughter and I were in the grocery store. I had opened a box of flavored Cheerios and gave her a few to eat. I didn’t know, at the time, that the flavoring keeps them from dissolving easily. My daughter started to choke, there was no air exchange and her lips turned blue. I snatched her from the cart, flipped her upside down, pounded on her back, and the Cheerio popped out. When she finally caught her breath she looked at me and said, “Mommy, that wasn’t good.”
I didn’t sleep for a week.
—Lisa Campanella-Coppo, MD, a mom of a three-year-old daughter, an emergency department physician, and the emergency department director of Academic Affairs at Monmouth Medical Center, in Monmouth, NJ