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Health Team

Food, toys can pose choking risks for children

Posted February 25, 2010 5:40 p.m. EST
Updated February 25, 2010 6:38 p.m. EST

The American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending warning labels on foods like hot dogs, grapes, carrots and popcorn because of the risk that children will choke on them.

“If you’re a parent, you don’t want to be taking in foods that are really hazardous, you shouldn’t be giving children small, hard candies, popcorn, things like hot dogs,” said Dr. Jamie Wells, of NYU’s Langone Medical Center.

Pediatricians want food manufacturers to keep children in mind when they design and develop new products, like cookies and candy.

Choking on objects like food and toys sends thousands of children to the emergency room every year. It's also the leading cause of death for children 3 years and younger.

Pediatricians also warn that tiny toys left around by older siblings are also something for parents to watch for.

Doctors say if a toy is small enough to fit through a toilet paper tube, it's probably a choking hazard for young children.

Because there's no way to prevent every single incident of choking pediatricians recommend parents, teachers and child care providers learn choking first aid and CPR.