Mom & Former Paramedic Explains Why Serving Your Children A Popular Summer Snack Can Be 'Dangerous'

Who would've thought that this vegetable can be dangerous if not prepared correctly?

mom, paramedic, cucumber, choking hazard @tinyheartseducation / TikTok; spass / Shutterstock 

As we are in the midst of summertime, many parents are relying on fruits and vegetables their children can snack on to hold them over until dinnertime. Some popular snacks include strawberries, blueberries, grapes, and cucumbers, as they're easy to prep and kids often love them

However, there is a lurking danger that comes along with these quick snacks that many parents may be unaware of. 

One mother and former paramedic is warning fellow parents of young children how one popular snack can pose a safety hazard, and how you can properly prepare them before giving them to children. 


The mother and ex-paramedic warns parents that cucumbers can pose a choking hazard for young children. 

While cucumbers are undeniably a healthy snack that increases hydration and strengthens bones, their texture also makes them a choking risk, especially for young children. 

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Nikki Jurcutz (@tinyheartseducation), a mother of two and a former paramedic, took to the platform to educate other parents about the unspoken dangers of cucumbers. 

In a video that has been viewed over 1 million times, the mother notes that cucumbers have a “hard” and “slippery” texture and that they often break up into chunks that can be difficult to swallow. She described them as a “high-risk choking food.” 




Jurcutz advises parents on how to properly cut cucumbers to lower the risk of choking. 

She demonstrates how cucumbers should be sliced into very thin, rectangular pieces to reduce choking hazards. The pieces are so thin that they appear almost see-through, and they are easier for children to chew and swallow. 

“Cucumbers aren’t talked about much when it comes to choking, so I wanted to shed some light so you feel more prepared,” Jurcutz captioned her video. 

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Other parents thanked her for raising awareness about the choking risks of cucumbers and shared their own methods for how they prepare the vegetable so that it is safe for their little ones. 

“I shred it into some Greek yogurt, [my child] loves it!” one TikTok user commented. “Sometimes I cut the soft middle part into squishable strips. It works great! Just wastes a lot,” another user revealed. 

In a follow-up video, Jurcutz demonstrated how exactly parents can prepare cucumbers for their children the way that she does. 



She uses a steamer to steam the vegetable until it is soft enough to puree. Parents can also cut them into “wide, thin pieces.” For older children, the mother claims that grating cucumbers are also a safe option, or any “slices when you’re comfortable with their chewing abilities.” 


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Jurcutz argues that cucumbers are not nearly discussed enough as being a choking hazard, with most of the warnings focused on grapes, blueberries, and carrots. However, dieticians and medical experts claim that the vegetable is one of the greatest choking hazards for young children, since they are often served in round slices, and can easily become trapped in an airway.

Jurcutz’s video was inspired after one mother reached out to her sharing that her baby had choked on a piece of cucumber. 

One mother reached out to the former paramedic and her team, thanking them for their information about children choking that saved her baby after she choked on a piece of cucumber. 

“Never in a million years did I think that I would actually need to do back blows to my eight-month-old who was choking,” the mother admitted. “But here I was today doing it to help her as she got some cucumber stuck.” 


She included a graphic photo of the aftermath, which included a square piece of cucumber that was surrounded by infant spit-up. 

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mom shares that cucumbers are choking hazards for childrenPhoto: TikTok / @tinyheartseducation

“You don’t think it’ll happen to you,” Jurcutz shared. “But if it does, we’ll make sure you know exactly what to do. Don’t wait until something happens. Learn the skills to save your child today.” 


It is important that parents understand how they can help their children if they ever choke on food. 

At least one child dies every five days in the U.S. from choking and more than 12,000 children are taken to a hospital emergency room each year for food-choking injuries. 

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It is essential that parents understand choking risks and know what to do in the event their child does wind up choking. 


In a blog article written by Jurcutz, she includes helpful information for parents derived from the Australian and New Zealand Committee on Resuscitation (ANZCOR). The organization collects information regarding resuscitation techniques that can save lives. 

As per organization guidelines, if a child’s airway is obstructed, parents should take action by calling an ambulance, delivering five blows to the child’s back and five thrusts to the chest repeatedly until the item becomes dislodged from the airway or until help arrives. If a child becomes unresponsive, parents should begin CPR. 

Choking is terrifying, but preventable. Make sure you educate yourself on choking hazards to ensure the safety of your child this summer. 

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.