Choking on Food – Childhood Hazard

by Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN on May 15, 2014 · 4 comments

In the US, every day, 34 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for choking on food . Every year over 12,000 children under the age of 14 survive food choking incidents, 60% of the kids treated are under age 4. Hard candies are the biggest culprits followed by other candies, meat, and bones.

We have done a good job labeling toys for age appropriateness and noting small pieces as choking hazards, but the same comprehensive education message has not reached parents when it comes to food.

Food producers can redesign food shapes and sizes to make them less hazardous. A good example is the lollipop with a looped handle rather than a straight stick. Grapes, grape tomatoes, and nuts, common choking hazards can simply be cut in half. Hot dogs or sausages should be cut in half lengthwise; this eliminates the cylindrical shape that can block a child’s throat.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Johnd250 May 15, 2014 at 11:02 pm

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Joan Hugues June 3, 2014 at 4:22 pm

Thank you for advocating “awareness” about the small child food choking danger. In 2008, New York Legislature enacted J.T.’s Law, New York’s Food Choking Prevention Act, a bill named after my godson JT. JT’s Law is incredibly important as it empowers people with knowledge of certain foods that have statistically been proven to be a high choking risk to small children and provides people with the tools necessary to combat a life threatening situation or, more importantly, prevent such situation.
New York Department of Health has an informative webpage.
Facebook Page – JT’s Law – Food Choking Prevention Act (Please like and share)


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