Written by Dr. Dave Hnida, CBS4 Medical EditorFew things are scarier than watching your child choke, gasp, and turn blue from a piece of food causing a roadblock in the throat.

And a new study says the problem is as common as ever.

Researchers in the Journal Pediatrics followed more than 100,000 kids who went to the ER because of choking between the years 2001 and 2009.

Two key points: the rate of choking on food actually climbed slightly between those years — you’d think we’d be more aware as time goes by …

And — food, not toys, caused the majority of non-fatal choking episodes.

The top offenders:

1. Hard candy

2. Other candy, such as gum or sticky, chewy, gummy type treats

3. Meat

4. Bones

5. Fruits and vegetables

Hot dogs, btw, came in at #11 on the list.

Sure, toys did cause choking accidents, but food made up 60% of obstructions from infancy to age 14.

A few takeaways from this study for me:

First: Even though foods were ranked, I’d be just as afraid of # 177 on the list as #1. Reason– any food has the potential to cause an airway block.

Second: Unlike toys, foods don’t come with warning labels saying they are a potential choking hazard. So every time before something edible goes into a kid’s mouth, you need to think about whether that food could be an issue … and how you can make it safer.

The reason hot dogs are down the list is most likely due to the fact most parents cut them up into small, narrow, lengthwise strips. In other words, there is an awareness. But you need that for all foods.

Last but not least, you probably are up-to-date on the latest in things such as car seats and proper restraints in a vehicle. But do you know CPR and first aid for choking?

It’s a must for every parent! And faster than waiting for a response to a 911 call.

Here’s a nice bit of info for parents: healthychildren.org/…/Responding-to-a-Choking-Emergency.aspx


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