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Kids and Choking - Cutting the Risk

Choking is a leading cause of injury in little ones, especially in children four and younger.
Choking is a leading cause of injury in little ones, especially in children four and younger.  And that number is on the rise. How can parents cut down on choking hazards?

Choking can be dangerous, even deadly.

Now a new study in the journal Pediatrics finds the number of little ones who are treated for choking on certain foods is still high.

"We have done a great job in this country preventing choking in children on toys," says Dr. Gary Smith with Nationwide Children's Hospital.
"Back since the 1990 we've had laws and regulations...we have no such systems in place currently for food."

Researchers looked at thousands of children who had emergency room visits because of non-fatal, food related choking between 2001 to 2009.

The authors found that an average of more than 12,000 children under the age of 15 were treated for food-related choking each year.
That's about 34 children every day.

Items that caused the most problems were hard candy - about 16 percent, followed by other candy -13 percent , bones, 12-percent and meats, also 12-percent.

Hot dogs were not included under meats - they have their own category - because they caused almost 3-percent of the food-related choking cases.

"They are hard to chew, the hot dog is the perfect size to block the airways, in a young child, so that's why those are much more dangerous foods to give to a child," Dr. Smith says.

Study authors recommend placing warning labels on foods that pose a high choking risk.

And developing public awareness campaigns to educate everyone about the danger of food-related choking.

(Shelby Lin for CNN's Health Minute)

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