Studies Indicates 34 Children in U.S. Treated for Choking Every Day

hot dogs and chokingAccording to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, throughout the past 10 years an average of 34 American children every day were/are treated for choking in nation-wide emergency rooms.

The study conducted by the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio found that foods that children commonly choke on are seeds and nuts, hot dogs, fruits and vegetables, and biscuits and crackers (babies and toddlers). Statistics from this study demonstrate that the biggest cause of choking cases requiring hospital visits among kids of all ages is candy.

Dr. Gary Smith, study leader states,

“These numbers are high. In fact, this is an underestimate. This doesn’t include children who were treated in urgent care, by a primary care physician or who had a serious choking incident and were able to expel the food and never sought care.”

When you add up the 34 child per day average of choking incidents medically treated and reported, it equals 12,435 total every year. This number does not include the average 57  fatalities that occur as a result of children choking on food that the CDC reports yearly.

After analyzing ER visits throughout U.S. hospitals from the year 2001 to 2009, researchers under Smith’s lead discovered that 38% of emergency room treated choking incidents were involving babies that were less than one year’s old. The majority of those choking cases were caused by infants choking on breast milk or formula.

Only 10% of  children that were seen in emergency rooms were admitted to the hospital and out of that percentage the common foods choked on that required hospitalizations was seeds and nuts and hot dogs.

Reuters Health reports Smith’s remarks on why there is the common incidence of kids choking on hot dogs,

“We know that because hot dogs are the shape and size of a child’s airway that they can completely block a child’s airway.”

Smith also noted that actions such as better labeling on foods by manufacturers, alterations in designs of foods, education and parents implementing added precautions, and last of all supervision is of the utmost importance.  Another thing that may be helpful for preventing choking incidences in children is that of cutting up food into small pieces that are not large enough to block the airways.

Written by Tony Clark

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