Dr. Bill shares new research on kids and choking. Show Notes

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 Host(s): Dr. Bill Maier
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What’s the worst culprit when it comes to kids choking on something?  Would you believe it’s HARD CANDY?

Dr. Clare McCarthy writes the “MD Mama” blog and she reports on a new study just published by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Researchers looked at choking-related visits to the emergency rooms that involved food between for kids ages 0-14 years.

There were a lot of visits: more than 12,000 a year. While most of the children were treated and released, 10 percent were hospitalized. More than a third were children under a year, although the mean age was 4.5 years--so choking isn't just something that happens to babies and toddlers.

Dr. McCarthy says this particular study only looked at non-fatal visits--they didn't look at deaths from choking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year about 57 kids die from choking on food.

So moms and dads, listen up, here are the top five foods that kids choke on:

1. Hard candy
2. Other candy (like gum)
3. Meat
4. Pieces of bone
5. Fruits and vegetables

Interestingly, hot dogs were actually low on the list at number 11.  Part of the reason may be that this study only looked at non-fatal choking, and if you get a hot dog slice lodged in your throat, it's more likely to kill you. But it could also be that parents have gotten the message that hot dogs are dangerous. That's what so much of this is about: getting the message out, so that parents can keep children safe.

Here are some recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics to help prevent choking on food at any age:

Encourage children to chew their food well
Supervise meals
Insist that kids sit down when they eat
Don't allow children to run, play or lie down with food in their mouths

I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.
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