Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Tuesday talk: Should hot dogs come with warning labels?

Posted February 22, 2010 8:03 p.m. EST

If you didn't know that a hot dog is a choking hazard for kids, then you haven't read a baby book in a long time. Hot dogs, like grapes, balloons or gum, are just the right size to get stuck in the wrong pipe of a little one.

And according to a new study in the March issue of Pediatrics, choking is a leading cause of injury and death among children, especially those ages 3 and under. Food, toys and coins all look good to tikes who want to put everything in their mouths.

As part of the study, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a new policy statement this week calling on government agencies, manufacturers, parents, teachers, child care workers and health care professionals to help prevent choking among children.

The recommendations include putting warning labels on foods that pose a high choking risk; recalling foods that pose a significant choking hazard; and establishing a nationwide system for reporting food-related choking incidents. It urges food manufacturers to design new food and redesign existing food to minimize choking risks. And it encourages parents, teachers and child care providers to learn CPR and choking first aid.

According to the study, infants are at the highest risk of choking, followed by all other kids under age 3. According the the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 1 child dies every five days because of choking on food. When it comes to food, hot dogs are blamed for the most food-related choking deaths. Balloons are another big problem, the report says.

Read more about the study by clicking here.

So what do you think? Should that package of hot dogs come with a warning label that they pose a choking hazard? Or should they be redesigned? Or do parents and caregivers just need to be more diligent in cutting food to the right size?