One of the most serious, life-threatening risks for children in America today is choking accidents. Dr. Nina Shapiro of UCLA is particularly concerned about food choking hazards, which, unlike toys, are not required to carry warning labels. If you’re a parent, this report is both eye-opening and potentially life-saving.
The toddler years are the most concerning age ranges for choking. So kids under three and over 10 months are the highest-risk ages for choking accidents.
In the 1990s, the Child Protection Safety Act enforced that all toys with small parts have warning labels. However, there is no mandate to label foods as choking risks. So something Dr. Shapiro is researching at UCLA is what foods really are safe for children under three years old and how to get these foods labeled.
Foods that pose a choking hazard
For now, Dr. Shapiro says parents should educate themselves about what foods present the greatest choking risks to their children.
“The thing about choking accidents is they are preventable,” she says. “If you have a little bit of knowledge as far as what your child is at risk for, based on their age and based on what you have in your home, or even out of your home, most choking accidents are preventable.”
Hot dogs are the one thing that can be eaten, but they have to be cut appropriately. What you want to do is cut the hot dog length-wise first. And then, after that, to cut little pieces. So you’re not giving your children the circles, which they’re more likely to choke on.
“Another thing is that, even with child-safe foods, not to let your kids eat in their car seats, because you really don’t know what’s going on back there. You’re focusing on the road. And it’s nice and quiet, because they’re eating. But you don’t know if they’ve choked on something,” says Dr. Shapiro.
She has treated many children, most of them very severe, who’ve choked on food. It is a very serious problem and it’s a preventable problem. If you’re not sure if a food is safe for your child, don’t give it to them. Ask your doctor. Check with the American Academy of Pediatrics. Always air on the side of safety with your food and your child.
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