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Top 10 Foods That Are Choking Hazards For Kids

The back-to-school memos are starting to arrive in the email. Along with all the forms come reminders about school rules. Most of these revolve around food, respecting allergies, and ensuring kids have a healthy day.

Some of the rules are a little over the top. While it makes sense that grapes be cut to avoid choking situations, one friend had her son’s whole grain chips sent home because they were deemed “too sharp” by the teacher.

Seriously.

Still, choking hazards for kids and allergy issues are serious, and must be respected as such.

According to a new study from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, 112,000 kids went to the emergency room between 2001 and 2009 because of choking incidents. That’s about 34 kids a day.

Choking is listed as one of the leading causes of injury in children, and a leading cause of death in kids under 3. The average age for a child treated for choking is 4.5, and usually a boy. With a 3 and a half year old headed into a full week of Junior Kindergarten this fall, these stats caused me to sit up and pay attention.

  • Top 10 1 of 12
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    As we settle down into menu planning season and navigating the rules and lists, here are some foods we should avoid packing with little ones for their first foray into the big bad world.

    Image via iStockPhoto

  • 10. Hot Dogs – 2.6% of food choking ER visits 2 of 12
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    Hot dogs are the same shape as a child's airway and a usual suspect to be blamed for choking. Even if you cut it in a coin, it's still the same shape as your child's throat. We halve, and then quarter lengthwise our veggie dogs when we pack them in our son's lunch.

    Stats via Live Science. Image via iStockPhoto

  • 9. Cookies, crackers, or biscuits – 3.1% of food choking ER visits 3 of 12
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    One or two of those fishy crackers are probably fine. Pile in a handful of them, or biscuits, or cookies, and you'll end up with a gooey, doughy mess that can cause problems.

    Stats via Live Science. Image via iStockPhoto

  • 8. Chips, pretzels, or popcorn – 4.6% of food choking ER visits 4 of 12
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    These are rigid items that kids can have difficulty chewing properly.

    Stats via Live Science. Image via iStockPhoto

  • 7. Seeds, nuts, or shells – 6.5% of food choking ER visits 5 of 12
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    Kids often consume these by the handful, researchers noted. Sometimes the handfuls are too full meaning the kids get more in their mouth than they can handle. Supervision while eating these items is important.

    Stats via Live Science. Image via iStockPhoto

  • 6. Formula, milk, or breast milk – 6.7% of food choking ER visits 6 of 12
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    While most of the kids were older, babies still exhibited signs of choking and were admitted to ER. Watch your feeder.

    Stats via Live Science. Image via iStockPhoto

  • 5. Fruits and vegetables – 9.7% of food choking ER visits 7 of 12
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    Like with hot dogs, fruits and vegetables are difficult to chew and kids can bite off bigger bites. Make sure things are prepared in small pieces.

    Stats via Live Science. Image via iStockPhoto

  • 4. Bone – 12% of food choking ER visits 8 of 12
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    Little fish and chicken bones can be nasty things. You and I would watch for them in our food, less experienced eaters won't. Be sure to clean their meats carefully.

    Stats via Live Science. Image via iStockPhoto

  • 3. Meat, not including hot dogs – 12.2% of food choking ER visits 9 of 12
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    Hot dogs stand on their own on this list, every other meat item gets put near the top. Again, it's a case of biting off more than they can chew. Serve your kids small pieces of meat and encourage them to eat slowly.

    Stats via Live Science. Image via iStockPhoto

  • 2. Other types of candy and gum – 12.8% of food choking ER visits 10 of 12
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    The real reason we scour our kids' candy on Halloween? I'm not looking for razor blades, I'm pulling out these kinds of things. You really have to ask yourself if a kid needs candy and why / when you give it to them.

    Stats via Live Science. Image via iStockPhoto

  • 1. Hard candy – 15% of food choking ER visits 11 of 12
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    While a hard caramel may be the traditional treat from grandpa, that type of hard candy lands at number one on the choking list. Think about how you eat it, it's in your mouth and you suck on it, forcing the candy back in your mouth. 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.

    Stats via Live Science. Image via iStockPhoto

  • What do you do if someone is choking? 12 of 12
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    Remember  Red, White, and Blue.  First they will go red, then white, if they go blue, then you have a serious emergency where the child is not able to get any air. In the red phase they will likely cough and the best thing to do is leave them alone, things usually expel on their own. If things progress and they are unable to get air, then use the Heimlich maneuver for children over 1. For infants, use the base of the palm of your hand to perform back blows.
    Brush up on your emergency first aid procedures, like these, by visiting the Red Cross.

    Image via iStockPhoto

via Pediatrics

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