Small children choke easily due to their small airways, decreased cough reflex and unfortunate tendency to put things in their mouth. Every five days, an American child dies from choking, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Raisins previously made the list of foods with high potential for choking, but the American Academy of Pediatrics removed them from the list in 2010. Follow your own pediatrician's recommendations on giving raisins to a small child; raisins, which have a high sugar content, may be bad for your child's teeth.
The American Academy of Pediatrics removed raisins from the list of choking hazards in 2010 because it couldn't find any reported instances of children choking on raisins, BabyCenter states. Hot dogs present the highest risk, accounting for 17 percent of choking episodes in children, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Other foods on the list of choking hazards include hard candy, peanuts, peanut butter, grapes, marshmallows and meat sticks or sausages.
You can start giving your baby raisins between the ages of 7 and 9 months, when he shows readiness for finger foods such as reaching for food or trying to grab the spoon when you feed him. However, molars, the back teeth used for grinding food, normally don't appear until the age of 1 1/2 years. Children with developmental delays or physical problems that making chewing and swallowing difficult may not be able to eat raisins at a young age. Ask your pediatrician when he thinks your child should start foods that require chewing such as raisins.
Although you can give your child raisins, follow safety precautions to make sure your child doesn't choke on them. Break up raisins that clump together so your child eats just one, not several in one bite. Do not let your child put more than one raisin in his mouth at a time. Don't let your child walk around with food in his mouth; have him sit at the table to eat. Don't give your child raisins in the car, where you can't get to him easily if he starts to choke. Watch your child when he eats raisins. Small children don't make choking sounds that would alert you to them choking.
Raisins not only have a high sugar content, they also stick to children's teeth. The incidence of cavities in small children has decreased since the 1970s, but around 20 percent of children aged 2 to 5 have untreated cavities. Cavities can cause loss of baby teeth and pain, not to mention the expense of having the teeth filled or pulled. Give your child raisins as part of a meal, so other foods help prevent the raisins from sticking to the teeth.