Ice cubes seem harmless. Most parents assume that they easily melt, so they are safe. However, ice melts slowly. A child could choke on ice cubes before they melt. For these reasons, serving cool beverages is necessary instead of using ice cubes in infants' drinks.
Wait until the child is four years old. Ice cubes are slippery and large, both which are high risk for choking. Ice cubes also don't melt very fast, and have sharp edges which can cut the inside of the mouth.
Offer a teething ring instead. If considering feeding the baby ice for teething purposes, keep a teething ring in the refrigerator or freezer to offer baby instead. There are several liquid and gel filled teething rings available to purchase that are specifically for this purpose.
Give the child crushed ice. Crushed ice for a preschooler is safer than cubes. This is due to the fact that the pieces are much smaller. Also consider giving the child a straw, making swallowing the bigger pieces unlikely. Leaving the ice cubes out entirely and serving a refrigerated beverage is the best option.
Watch the child carefully. Even older children have a problem with ice cubes sometimes. Stay on the lookout for signs the child is choking, such as coughing or wheezing.
Know the dangers involved. Ice cubes are extremely dangerous for young children. They are choking hazards, and should be kept away from young children at all times.