I know, I know, I don’t want to hear the truth either, but it’s there, as plain as day (according to people in the know, too).
Cutting your kid’s grapes into halves or fourths is a pain in the butt, but it could save their life.
In an article called The Choking Hazard Of Grapes: A Plea For Awareness, the dangers of letting kids eat whole grapes are outlined – and pediatric death is the worst possible outcome.
The AAP recommends you at least halve, preferably quarter, grapes to keep them from getting lodged in your child’s esophagus. And it really does happen – this image of a grape lodged in the throat of a 5yo is freaking people out all over social media as it makes the rounds.
He’s fine, but he needed emergency surgery to fix the situation, according to People.
Near the top of the list of pediatric choking hazards, the AAP says you should be cutting grapes until your child is at least 5 years old, though if they’re not careful eaters, you may want to do it for longer.
Grapes are particularly hazardous because their skin is slippery even before it’s covered in saliva, and they’re almost exactly the same width as a child’s esophagus.
Bronx speech and feeding therapist Lupe Garcia expands on why cutting grapes in particular is so important.
“Once a whole grape gets coated in saliva, they are extra slimy and slippery and it doesn’t take a whole lot for them to get swallowed improperly. When you slice them into quarters, they aren’t as hard, and aren’t prone to occlude the airway.”
As to stopping at age 5, well, you might want to hold off on that, too.
“For many kids, they eat too fast to stop slicing at 5. Watch their maturity and go from there.”
I mean, I know that I’ve choked on more than a few things that seemed harmless, and I’m considered an adult. Now that I own an actual toddler, I can say that I have very little confidence in his ability to be careful when advised to do so.
All to say: pass the knife.