Children’s Health: Choking
Many parents ask us why we require foods like raw carrots, grapes, or hot dogs be cut in specific ways. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), choking is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among children, especially those aged 3 years or younger. The foods that I mentioned above, plus many more foods, toys, and household items have been determined to be choking hazards by notable health organizations, including the AAP. Our own extensive experience with children shows us that they can and will choke or have difficulty chewing and swallowing certain foods, even into the preschool and early elementary school years. While we know it may be time-consuming to cut food into small pieces, eliminating opportunities for choking is paramount for children’s wellbeing.
Please see the following video in which Philip Gendreau, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatric Otolaryngology at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences—Naval Medical Center San Diego, identifies the risk factors and common items associated with choking. He also explains what parents should do in a choking emergency.