Pediatrician Group Calls for Choking Hazard Labels
The largest pediatrician group in the country is calling for warning labels on foods that pose the highest risk for choking.
The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates at least one child in the U.S. dies every five days from choking on food, which is also the leading cause of death among children 14 and younger.
The group is taking aim at the feds and manufacturers by issuing a new policy statement calling for a food labeling system warning parents of these risks.
"This is a call to action," Dr. Gary Smith told CNN. Smith, a pediatrician and immediate past chairman of the Committee on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention of the American Academy of Pediatrics, is also the director of the Center for Injury, Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
"For many years, the U.S. has protected children from choking on toys. We have legislation. We have regulation. We have voluntary standards. We have labeling. We have recall programs," he told CNN.
Kids that are up to four years in age are at the highest risk for choking on food, mostly because they only have their front teeth. They can bite off a piece of food, but they don't have molars in back to grind it.
The biggest culprits, according to The American Academy of Pediatrics, are hot dogs, which, they say, are the highest "risk food" for young kids. Grapes, raw carrots, apples and peanuts are also dangerous. Smith told CNN that he has treated many children who later died from choking on hot dogs and grapes.
The American Academy of Pediatrics lists a few tips on its Web site to help parents with problem foods until changes are made, including:
- Cut hot dogs lengthwise and grapes in quarters. This changes the dangerous shape of the food, which can block throats of young children and even teenagers.
- Avoid giving toddlers other high-risk foods such as hard candy, nuts, seeds and raw carrots.
- Never let small children run, play or lie down while eating.