Chris Evert Children's Hospital
Pediatric Trauma, Emergency and Minor Care Services

Pediatric Trauma, Emergency and Minor Care Services

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Tips to Lower Toddlers' Choking Risks

As curious young children explore their environment, they put food and other objects in their mouths that can stick in their windpipe (trachea) and make it difficult or impossible for them to breathe. Choking sends thousands of infants and toddlers to emergency rooms each year.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and other agencies, such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission, have worked for years to warn parents and child caregivers and to improve the safety of toys and products.

Monitor mealtimes

Before age 4, children aren't able to grind their food into small pieces. Protect your child by creating a safe eating environment and avoiding certain foods until your child is age 4.

At meals:

  • Supervise your child. Don't leave your child alone while he or she is eating.

  • Sit your child upright in a high chair.

  • Discourage eating and talking at the same time.

  • Cut your child's food into small pieces until his or her molars come in.

  • Stop your child from running with food in his or her mouth.

Do not allow a child younger than age 4 to have these foods:

  • Hot dogs

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Chunks of peanut butter

  • Chunks of meat or cheese

  • Popcorn, pretzels, potato chips, corn chips, and similar snack foods

  • Hard, gooey, or sticky candy

  • Whole grapes

  • Raisins

  • Raw vegetables, especially hard ones

  • Chewing gum

If hot dogs are the only food you have, remove the tough skin and cut the meat into small pieces.

Keep small objects out of little hands

Although food is the most common cause of choking in small children, other objects are also a threat. Keep small household items and toys with small removable parts out of toddlers' reach. Be sure to remove common offenders, such as uninflated or broken balloons, coins, marbles, tiny balls, pen caps, button-type batteries, and pins. Balloons are the toys most commonly involved in fatal choking accidents. If a child bites on an inflated latex balloon, it can pop, enter the lungs, and choke the child. Broken pieces of a balloon can also be dangerous if a young child picks one up and puts it in his or her mouth.

Choking emergencies

Choking can occur even if you take precautions. If your child has a forceful cough and is crying or vocal, let the child get the food or object out. If your child can't make a sound, have someone call 911 or your local emergency number, while you do the Heimlich maneuver. Learn the version that's right for your child's age. The American Heart Association provides standard procedures for choking victims of all ages. Once the food or object comes out, take your child to the health care provider. A piece of the object may remain in the lung; only a health care provider can tell if your child is OK. 

Level 1 Trauma Center

Chris Evert Children's Hospital is one of only two Level 1 trauma centers in Broward County that specialize in pediatric care. The trauma center is part of our dedicated 12-bed pediatric emergency unit that is staffed by surgeons, pediatric emergency nurses, respiratory therapists, x-ray technicians and anesthesiologists who work around the clock to treat the most critically ill or injured patients.

The trauma center has a helipad to receive patients by MEDEVAC who are seriously injured in remote areas. We have the newest innovative technology, including CT scanners inside the trauma bay to allow easier access and quicker results, 24 hours a day. Its practical location also keeps children in the comfort of the pediatric area. Our multidisciplinary trauma team works together to successfully stabilize, rehabilitate and transfer patients into their home environment.

24-hour Emergency Department

The pediatric specialists at Chris Evert Children’s Hospital emergency department are available 24 hours a day to care for children with medical problems that cannot wait to be seen by their regular doctor. We know that it can be stressful to have a sick child and we do everything we can to help families and their children during their emergency department visit.

Care and Treatment

Minor Care Services has been created as part of the Pediatric Emergency Department to treat medical problems such as sore throats, fever, cold symptoms, sprains, minor cuts, insect bites and other non-life threatening illnesses. Our goal is that a child be treated for minor illnesses and injuries, in a thorough, safe and efficient manner, in one hour or less.

Specially Trained Team

We are staffed by a special medical team which includes a board certified pediatric emergency physician, registered nurse and other technicians.

For more information about Chris Evert Children's Hospital, or if you need a doctor, call the Broward Health Line at 954-759-7400. Click here for directions to Chris Evert Children's Hospital