112,000 kids went to the ER between 2001 and 2009 because of choking incidents, according to a new study from Nationwide Children’s Hospital. That’s about 34 kids per day!
Choking is one of the leading causes on injury in children, and a leading cause of death in kids under 3. The average age for a child treated for choking is 4 ½. The victim is usually a boy, according to the study.
The Top 10 Foods That Are Choking Hazards for Kids:
10. Hot Dogs: 2.6% of food choking ER visits.
The Reason: hot dogs are the same shape as a child’s airway and a usual suspect to be blamed for choking. Even cut up in coin shapes, it is still the same shape as your child’s throat.
Prevention Tip: halve and then quarter lengthwise before packing hot dogs in your child’s lunch box.
9. Cookies, Crackers or Biscuits: 3.1% of food choking ER visits.
The Reason: A handful of biscuits or cooking will end up being gooey and doughy when consumed. This is what causes the problems.
Prevention Tip: Watch your kids when consuming crackers or cookies. Make sure they are eating slowly and not shoving a handful into their mouths.
8. Chips, Pretzels or Popcorn: 4.6% of food choking ER visits.
The Reason: These are rigid items that kids can have difficulty chewing properly.
Prevention Tip: Keep an eye on your little one if consuming one of these snacks. Make sure they aren’t consuming too many at a time. Opt for a snack that has less rigid edges.
7. Seeds, Nuts or Shells: 6.5% of food choking ER visits.
The Reason: Kids often consume these by the handful. Sometimes the handful is too large and kids get more in their mouth than they can handle.
Prevention Tip: Supervision is important. Never pack seeds or nuts in your kids lunch box unless you know they will be highly supervised at snack or lunch time.
6. Formula or Milk: 6.7% of food choking ER visits.
The Reason: While most of the kids were older, babies still exhibited signs of choking and were admitted to the ER.
Prevention Tip: Supervise your little one. Watch your feeder.
5. Fruits & Vegetables: 9.7% of food choking ER visits.
The Reason: Like with hot dogs, fruits and veggies are difficult to chew and kids can bite off bigger bites.
Prevention Tip: Make sure to prepare fruits and vegetables in smaller pieces and cut lengthwise when possible.
4. Bones: 12% of food choking ER visits.
The Reason: Little fish and chicken bones can sometimes be found in poorly prepared food. These are a serious choking hazard, even for adults!
Prevention Tip: Watch for bones in your food and your child’s food. Inspect their food before serving it and pick out any noticeable little bones. Clean meats very carefully when preparing.
3. Other Meats: 12.2% of food choking ER visits.
The Reason: Hot dogs are in their own group of this list but other meat items get near the top. Again, it’s a case of biting off more than they can chew.
Prevention Tip: Cut up your kids meat into tiny bites and encourage them to eat slowly.
2. Other Candy and Chewing Gum: 12.8% of food choking ER visits.
The Reason: Candy and gum can come in small, chewy pieces that can easily get caught in a child’s windpipe.
Prevention Tip: Inspect your kid’s Halloween candy before letting them have any. Scour out any small pieces that can easily get lodged in their throats. Limit the amount of candy that they are allowed to have and make sure they are always supervised when consuming candy or gum.
1. Hard Candy: 15% of food choking ER visits.
The Reason: Hard candy can come in very small pieces that can easily slip down a kids throat and down the wrong pipe. The act of sucking on the hard candy, forcing the candy back into your mouth brings hard candy to the top of this list. A kid who doesn’t have the finesse to keep it in place with their tongue will fire that thing back in their throat fast.
Prevention Tip: Limit the amount of hard candy your child is allowed to have. Supervise them at all times when consuming this type of candy.
Mr. Finkelstein is the Managing Partner of Finkelstein & Partners, LLP. He has become a noted consumer activist through his representation of injured individuals against corporate wrongdoers and irresponsible parties.
An accomplished litigator, Mr. Finkelstein has represented Plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has successfully handled dozens of multi-million dollar cases.