One of my biggest fears as a mother has been my children choking. While pregnant I read this tragic story of a toddler who choked on an apple. She actually aspirated a tiny piece of the fruit while crying. The story is devastating and made such an impact on me that my husband and I are obsessive about cutting up our kids’ food.
And for good reason. A new study published yesterday in the journal Pediatrics says that between 2001 and 2009 more than 150,000 children visited the emergency room because of choking. Number one on the list? Hard candy. Makes sense but I was actually surprised. I would’ve gone with grapes or hot dogs. Maybe apples.
According to The Huffington Post, “between 2001 and 2009, more than 16,100 children ages 14 and younger visited the emergency room because they were choking on hard candy. Overall, nearly 112,000 children visited the emergency department for nonfatal choking related to food during the eight-year study, about 12,400 per year. That means that about 15 percent of all child emergency room visits related to choking on food were due to hard candy.”
Other top foods that sent kids to the emergency room include the following:
Other candy: 13,324 visits (12.8 percent)
Meat other than hot dogs: 12,671 visits (12.2 percent)
Bone: 12,496 visits (12 percent)
Fruits and vegetables: 10,075 visits (9.7 percent)
Formula, milk or breast milk: 6,985 visits (6.7 percent)
Seeds, nuts or shells: 6,771 visits (6.5 percent)
Chips, pretzels or popcorn: 4,826 visits (4.6 percent)
Biscuits, cookies or crackers: 3,189 visits (3.1 percent)
Hot dogs: 2,660 visits (2.6 percent)
Bread or pastries: 2,385 visits (2.3 percent)
French fries: 874 visits (0.8 percent)
The average age of kids treated for nonlethal choking was 4.5 years old and it’s worth noting that kids who choked on hot dogs or seeds, nuts or shells were more likely to require hospitalization than those who choked on other foods.
Bottom line: be mindful of everything you’re serving to your kids, even older children. My daughter is almost 5-years old and I still cut grapes in half for her. Sounds like a bit much but I’m not interested in taking any chances when it comes to choking.
Image source: mommypage.com
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