The American Academy of Pediatrics is waging war against the hot dog – not because of its terrible nutrition value, but because of its potential to choke small kids.
The Academy would like to see a choking hazard label placed on hot dog packaging. Or even better, it would like to see foods like hot dogs redesigned so their size, shape and texture would be less likely to catch in a child’s throat.
According to an article in USA Today:
“More than 10,000 children under 14 go to the emergency room each year after choking on food, and up to 77 die, says the new policy statement, published online today in Pediatrics. About 17% of food-related asphyxiations are caused by hot dogs.”
” ‘If you were to take the best engineers in the world and try to design the perfect plug for a child’s airway, it would be a hot dog,’ says statement author Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. ‘I’m a pediatric emergency doctor, and to try to get them out once they’re wedged in, it’s almost impossible.’ “
Smith points out The Consumer Product Safety Commission requires labels on toys that are potential choking hazards but there’s no equivalent for food.
Janet Riley, president of the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, says she supports more education for parents but:
“… Riley questions whether warning labels are needed. She notes that more than half of hot dogs sold in stores already have choking-prevention tips on their packages, advising parents to cut them into small pieces. ‘As a mother who has fed toddlers cylindrical foods like grapes, bananas, hot dogs and carrots, I ‘redesigned’ them in my kitchen by cutting them with a paring knife until my children were old enough to manage on their own,’ Riley says.”
So what do you think: Should there be choking warning labels on hot dogs or other similar foods like grapes or carrots? Should the hot dogs be redesigned? (What would you do with it?)
Should it just be up to the parents to take the time to prepare the food in such a way to make it less dangerous to their kids? (Or up to the parents to just not buy it?)
Have you ever had a child choke on a hot dog? Did you/do you cut them up? Up until what age?