University of Sussex
Service evaluation- identification of gaps in choking prevention advice for children in the South Coast of England, UK.pdf (643.83 kB)

Service evaluation: identification of gaps in choking prevention advice for children in the South Coast of England, UK

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-05-15, 07:15 authored by Saira Khan, Karen PattersonKaren Patterson, Katy Fidler

Choking, also known as foreign body airway obstruction, is the blockage of respiration by a foreign body in the airway including the trachea, hypopharynx and pharynx. Among young children, choking is one of the leading causes of death among unintentional injuries, thus making it a significant public health issue. Children under 5 have the highest risk of choking compared with other children and adults. In 2016, of the approximately 1900 choking episodes resulting in emergency calls in London, 40% were for children under 5.

Common items that children may choke on include food, toys and coins. Round objects that can adapt to the shape of a child’s airway are most likely to cause complete obstruction of the airways such as grapes, peanuts and hard sweets.

To reduce the incidence of these events, choking prevention advice for parents/caregivers is critical. One study showed that parents who lacked awareness of food choking hazards were more likely to give foods to their children that increase choking risk. Conversely, studies conducted in Israel and Crete showed a decline in choking cases in children after implementing educational choking prevention programmes.

Healthcare professionals (HCPs) such as general practitioners (GPs), paediatric nurses and health visitors play a significant role in providing choking prevention advice to parents/caregivers. During their professional training, these HCPs have typically received choking prevention and management teaching. However, in clinical practice, it is unclear how routinely these roles are being carried out.


Publication status

  • Published

File Version

  • Published version


Family Medicine and Community Health









Department affiliated with

  • Clinical and Experimental Medicine Publications
  • BSMS Publications


University of Sussex

Full text available

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Peer reviewed?

  • Yes