Choking kills more than 100 U.S. children each year. Is it time to redesign this all-American food?
Each year, choking kills more than 100 children in the U.S. -- and sends 15,000 more to the ER. The culprits? Candy, gum, coins, balloons and food such as popcorn and hot dogs.
The AAP's recommendations to parents are as follows:
â€¢ High-risk foods -- including hot dogs, raw carrots, grapes and apples -- should be cut into pea-sized pieces for small children.
â€¢ Other risky foods -- including hard candies, popcorn, peanuts and marshmallows -- shouldn't be given to young children at all.
"We've all fed our kids some of the items from the lists above," Dr. Nina Shapiro tells momlogic. "It's not worth the risk. As an airway doctor, I've treated kids who have choked on all of these items. Even older kids (and adults, for that matter) can choke on food. Surgical removal is most always the treatment, but horrific outcomes -- such as permanent brain damage or death -- are not just sensational news stories. They are real, and too common."
Here are the AAP's top goals:
â€¢ To make choking prevention a priority for government and food makers
â€¢ To put warning labels on high-risk foods
â€¢ To urge the Food and Drug Administration to work with other government agencies to establish a nationwide food-related choking reporting system, and to recall foods linked with choking
â€¢ To encourage the food industry to avoid shapes and sizes that pose choking risks
Joan Stavros Adler's 4-year-old choked to death on a piece of hot dog in 2001. Ever since her son died, she has been pushing for more warning labels. She says she hopes that the AAP's efforts will work.