A New Choking Hazard Label Is Recommended By The American Academy Of Pediatrics In Order To Help Parents Make Smart Choices About Foods To Give Their Children.
The New York Times is reporting that a new choking hazard label is being recommended by the American Academy of...
The New York Times is reporting that a new choking hazard label is being recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics in order to help parents make smarter decisions about which foods to feed their children. The piece opens with a fairly disturbing story about a family who gave popcorn to their 23 month old baby girl. She choked, her dad couldn't help her and she ended up dying. Shockingly, the girl's mother said, "Neither one of us knew that popcorn was unsafe.” Situations like this is what's prompting the American Academy of Pediatrics to recommend new labels. The academy is also urging food manufacturers to redesign some of the most dangerous foods, such as the hot dog; a major child choking hazard. Food manufacturers and many consumers feel this step goes too far. The Times notes...
“The F.D.A. needs to set a uniform standard for cautionary information on food that should not be consumed by children under 5,” said Bruce Silverglade, legal director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group that lobbied unsuccessfully in 2003 for a bill to require the Food and Drug Administration to develop food labeling regulations.Labels are all good and fine I suppose, but my recommendation is for parents to use some basic common sense. Choking, last I saw is mentioned in every single baby care book I've ever read. Choking is a covered topic at pediatrician visits. I myself talk about choking hazards incessantly here at P&B, as do many other baby bloggers. Yet, each year many young children die due to choking hazards while research estimates that maybe 20,000+ children are hospitalized because they've choked on some small item. I'm not so sure that labels will solve the issue. If parents aren't paying attention to advice from blogs, books, doctors and more will they pay attention to labels? PLUS good luck coming up with a label for things like apples and carrots (both choking hazards) - what, will the FDA mark every baby carrot with non-toxic ink? Really? In any case, I'm not against the new labeling idea, I just think it's less useful than say a TV commercial about it - something maybe parents will notice. Here are some basic ways to prevent choking according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Later, I'll round up all the posts I've done about choking here as well so stay tuned.
- Objects such as safety pins, small parts from toys, and coins cause choking, but food is responsible for most incidents.
- You must be particularly watchful when children around the age of one are sampling new foods.
- Don’t give young children hard, smooth foods (i.e., peanuts, raw vegetables) that must be chewed with a grinding motion. Children don’t master that kind of chewing until age four, so they may attempt to swallow the food whole. Do not give peanuts to children until age seven or older.
- Don’t give your child round, firm foods (like hot dogs and carrot sticks) unless they are chopped completely. Cut or break food into bite-size pieces (no larger than ½ inch [1.27 cm]) and encourage your child to chew thoroughly.
- Supervise mealtime for your infant or young child. Don’t let her eat while playing or running. Teach her to chew and swallow her food before talking or laughing.
- Chewing gum is inappropriate for young children.
- Small non-food objects are also responsible for many choking incidents. Look for age guidelines in selecting toys, but use your own judgment concerning your child.
- Also be aware that certain objects have been associated with choking, including uninflated or broken balloons; baby powder; items from the trash (e.g., eggshells, pop-tops from beverage cans); safety pins; coins; marbles; small balls; pen or marker caps; small, button- type batteries; hard, gooey, or sticky candy or vitamins; grapes; and popcorn.