Don’t let small children eat whole grapes—these pose a particularly high risk for fatal choking, according to a recent report in the Archives of Disease in Childhood. The authors described three cases of Scottish children (ages 5 years, 2 years, and 17 months) who needed emergency treatment after eating whole grapes; two died.
Grapes are larger than many young children’s airway, and the smooth, soft surface allows a grape to become lodged and form a tight seal blocking all air. This makes the grape hard to dislodge by coughing or even rescue measures like the Heimlich maneuver. The same is true of cherry tomatoes. Such foods should be cut in half or, better yet, quartered, before given to children ages 5 and younger.
Also see Choking: 5 Things You Need to Know.