Most Lethal Foreign Bodies

Tragedy can strike when an object completely blocks the airway or after a caustic substance is ingested.

Gel Candies “Mini Fruit Gels”

Probably the world’s most dangerous choking hazard.

Hot Dogs

Until children are at least 5 years old, please cut hot dogs lengthwise twice; then chop into small pieces.

Grapes, Cherry Tomatoes, etc.

Until children are at least 5 years old, grapes, cherry tomatoes, large blueberries and chunks of mango should be cut into small pieces.

Disc Batteries

These may look similar to a coin, but they can burn through the esophagus in as little as 2 hours and become lethal. Please keep disc batteries out of reach of toddlers and young children.

Hard Candies

Hard, round candies can be lethal if inhaled between the vocal cords (or beyond) or if swallowed (by compressing the airway from behind).

Large Pieces of Meat

Smaller pieces of meat, chewed properly, are less dangerous. If meat is tender and mixed with gravy, it can be chewed and swallowed more easily.



Marbles can be lethal if inhaled or if swallowed (by compressing the airway from behind).

Popped Balloons

A happy celebration can suddenly turn tragic, if a popped balloon blocks the larynx. Hearing a balloon “pop” should prompt someone to find and discard all the pieces right away.

Dried Peas or Beans

After a few hours of absorbing moisture from the bronchi, these can suddenly swell and cause complete obstruction.

Caustic Powders and Liquids

Alkali burns the swallowing passages and sometimes portions of the airway (especially above the vocal cords). This can lead to airway and swallowing passage obstruction and a dangerous chest infection.

Mini Magnets

If two or more mini-magnets are swallowed, they can make loops of intestine “stick” together, choking off the blood supply to the intestinal walls between the magnets, creating holes and a serious abdominal infection.

Did You Know?!

A 2013 report stated that, from 2001 to 2009, an average of 12,435 children (14 years old or younger) per year were treated in US Emergency Rooms because of food-related choking.[Ref:1]