Facilitating Safe Swallowing

Consideration of strategies to support safe swallowing function should be in response to concerns regarding feeding safety.  Strategies may also be considered in response to concerns regarding adequacy, feeding as a positive experience, development, and efficiency.


  • Strategies to help prevent distress should be applied.
  • Management following identification of dysphagia should involve an interdisciplinary team approach.
  • The goal of dysphagia intervention is to facilitate oral intake while minimizing risk of airway compromise. Any observation of indicators that a child is at risk or may be aspirating should be referred for further clinical assessment.
  • It is recommended that the child’s current feeding and swallowing skills be reviewed at the time of any significant change to their health, development, medical status, or after airway surgery.
  • It is recommended that the child’s swallowing abilities be reviewed following extubation of oral endotracheal intubation of over 24 hours.
  • A pharmacist should be consulted for a medication review to consider risk of aspiration for optimal delivery of medications inclusive of feeding method (e.g. oral or enteral feeding) and formulations.