Researchers Identify Top Choking Hazard Foods

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Researchers Identify Top Choking Hazard FoodsResearchers from the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looked at emergency visits due to food-related choking and identified top food choking hazards. The study, results of which were published in the journal Pediatrics looked only at nonfatal food-related choking episodes among children below the age of 14.

Researchers analyzed data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System – All Injury Program of over 100,000 children who were rushed to the hospital due to food-related choking between the years 2001 and 2009. 90 percent of children were treated and immediately released, while 10 percent were kept at the hospital.

Children below the age of 1 year accounted for more than one third of all cases, while the average age was 4.5 years which indicates that food choking hazards are just as dangerous for older children as for the youngest ones. Choking episodes decreased as children got older until the age of 7. Thereafter, it remained more or less the same through the age of 14.

Upon analyzing the data, researchers were able to make a chart of the top choking hazard foods:

1. hard candy (15 percent of all cases)
2. other candy (13 percent)
3. meat other than hot dogs (12 percent)
4. bones (12 percent)
5. fruits and vegetables

Researchers were also able to identify top choking hazard foods according to age. Babies below the age of 1 year were most frequently rushed to the hospital for chocking on:

– formula and breast milk
– fruits and vegetables
– cookies, crackers and biscuits

Toddlers, on the other hand, most often received treatment for choking on:

– fruits and vegetables
– seeds and nuts
– other candy

Since food-related choking can be very dangerous, parents are advised to be very careful in choosing and serving foods to their children. To reduce the risk of food choking to the minimum, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends parents to:

– remind their children to chew their food well before swallowing
– be persistent about sitting down when eating
– not allowing their kids to play, lie or run around with food in their mouth
– supervise meals, especially during the first two years
– not to give hard candies and gums to children younger than 4
– cut fruits and vegetables into small pieces for babies and young children
– not to feed babies and children below the age of 4 with hot dogs, raw carrots, grapes, seeds and nuts, popcorn and chunks of cheese or meat

The AAP also recommends parents to be careful with other choking items such as:

– coins
– buttons
– marbles and small balls
– pet food
– refrigerator magnets
– balloons
– small toys and toys with small parts
– pens and marker caps
– hair clips and rubber bands

These should be kept away from babies and young children.