AAP Wants A Hot Dog Redesign

hot-dog-choking-hazardJust about the time you stop worrying about when your kids will start eating “real” food comes a new worry – what will make them choke? Now the American Academy of Pediatrics wants to take the worry out of your hands.

The AAP is calling for an added line to nutritional fact labels. They want you to know ahead of time if something poses a choking hazard to your child. And that’s not all.

They want a redesign of the hot dog!

Slated for the March issue of Pediatrics, the policy statement was put together by Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and it focuses in on some of the common enemies to kids’ throats everywhere. Grapes. Popcorn. Nuts. Hot dogs.

According to Smith, hot dogs are the number one cause of food-related choking deaths (makes you feel better every time you ignore your kids pleas for those nitrate laden sticks of unknown origins, doesn’t it?). “”If you were to design the perfect plug for a child’s airway, you couldn’t do much better than a hot dog tip,” Smith says in a press release. “This will wedge itself in so tightly and completely block the airway that within minutes, because of a lack of oxygen, the child will die.”

Of course, until the food companies get in line, here are some tips from Smith to keep your kids safe:

  • Cut hot dogs lengthwise and cut grapes into quarters. This changes the dangerous round shape that can block a young adult’s throat.
  • Avoid giving toddlers other high-risk foods like hard candy, nuts, seeds and raw carrots.
  • Never let small children run, play or lie down while eating.

Common sense? Maybe, but I’ve seen plenty of parents at parties letting their kids walk around with full-size hot dogs. And my daughter has been offered more lollipops when we’re out and about than it would take to make a lollipop tree (our hard and fast rule is no eating the lollipop in the car – she can take one from the bank teller, store manager, insurance agent, but she must wait until we get home).

Do you think food labels need the warnings?

Image: the Busy Brain

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