Safe weaning

baby sitting in a highchair feeding themselves
Babies and young children are highly vulnerable to bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Some foods can also be a choking hazard. Read about how to store, prepare and serve food carefully to keep your child safe.

Is my baby choking or gagging?

There's a difference between choking and gagging. Gagging is a normal reflex as your baby learns to chew and swallow solid foods. Gagging is loud. Your child's skin may also look red when they're gagging, but redness can be harder to see on brown and black skin. Choking is quiet. If your child has white skin, it may begin to look blue (cyanosis) when they're choking. If they have brown or black skin, their gums, inside their lips, or their fingernails may begin to look blue.

Read more about how to recognise the signs of gagging.

Choking: what to do

If you think your child is choking and cannot breathe properly:

  • shout for help
  • get them out of the high chair
  • support their chest and chin with one hand and – with the heel of your hand – give 5 sharp blows between the shoulder blades

Further information

First aid courses:

British Red Cross: first aid courses

The NHS website has advice on:

How to stop a child from choking

How to resuscitate a child

Is your baby ready for solids? Find out how you can tell

Sign up now for our pregnancy, baby and toddler guide

Get personalised emails for trusted NHS advice, videos and tips on your pregnancy week by week, birth and parenthood.

Get weekly emails