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National Restaurant Association - Help customers in a choking emergency at your restaurant

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Help customers in a choking emergency at your restaurant

More than 3,000 people die each year as a result of choking, according to the American Red Cross. Would your staff be able to recognize if a person started to choke in your restaurant? Do you know what activities might lead to choking?

Understand some common causes of choking:

  • Trying to swallow large pieces of poorly chewed food.
  • Drinking alcohol before or during meals. Alcohol dulls the nerves that aid in swallowing.
  • Wearing dentures. Dentures make it difficult to sense whether food is fully chewed before it is swallowed.
  • Eating while talking excitedly or laughing.
  • Eating too fast.
  • Walking, playing, or running with food or objects in the mouth.

Consider offering these safety tips to parents:

  • Don’t leave small objects such as buttons, coins and beads within an infant’s reach.
  • Have children sit in a high chair or at a table while they eat.
  • Do not let children eat too fast.
  • Give infants soft food that they do not need to chew.
  • Make sure that toys are too large to be swallowed.
  • Do not give infants and young children foods like nuts, grapes, popcorn or raw vegetables.
  • Make sure that toys have no small parts that could be pulled off.
  • Cut foods a child can choke on easily, such as hot dogs, into small pieces.
  • Supervise children while they eat.

Source: American Red Cross

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