The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is urging federal officials to increase efforts to reduce choking deaths among children.
Every five days a child chokes to death while eating in the U.S. While even more children die each year after swallowing non-food items such as balloons.
To reduce such deaths, the AAP recommends adding a warning label on foods such as marshmallows and hot dogs, which pose a high choking risk to children. In fact, the group urges a “redesign” of the iconic link.
The AAP policy statement, “Prevention of Choking Among Children,” published in the March issue of Pediatrics, asks the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to establish nationwide food related choking-incidence surveillance and reporting system “to warn the public of existing and emerging hazards,” according to WebMD.
“Choking is preventable; and government, industry and consumer protection groups need to work together to protect children,” Gary A. Smith, MD, tells WebMD.
While hot dogs are the biggest culprit, Smith says, grapes, popcorn, peanuts, hard candies, raw carrots and peanut butter among other foods, also pose a choking risk.
For every choking-related death, there are 100 emergency room visits annually, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The leading cause of brain injury in young children is caused by choking. Just a few minutes without oxygen can result in brain damage.
Read the AAP policy statement for information about proposed changes and what you can.