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I would say most of them are far too large for a child to choke on and they’re usually attached to a string/lanyard. As you said, they’re designed for being chewed.
I’ve given out chew toys recently for sensory seeking children who are putting unsafe things in their mouth (playdough, pencils, staples, rubbers, lego, their classmates or themself). I used the chew toy to ensure they do not choke on other things. I’ve used them a lot at multiple schools and never had a safety issue, just sometimes hygiene reminders that they need to be clean.
Maybe that staff member has had a different experience, if it’s just a fear then she needs to consider what the chew toy is replacing.