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On an annual basis 12K kids go to ER for choking. Do you know why?


Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), looked at 100K choking-related ER visits that involved food between 2001 and 2009 for children ages 0-14 years. 10 % were hospitalized. ~35% were children under a year, although the mean age was 4.5 years.


The top five foods that kids choked on:

1. Hard candy

2. Other candy (like gum)

3. Meat

4. Bone

5. Fruits and vegetables

For babies under a year, the top three were:

1. Formula/milk/breast milk (peak age for this was 4 months)

2. Fruits/vegetables

3. Biscuits/cookies/crackers (beware of those baby biscuits–it’s easy to get a big chunk off).

For children 1-2 years, here were the top dangers:

1. Fruits/vegetables

2. Seeds/nuts/shells

3. Other candy (not hard candy–perhaps people usually know better than to give toddlers hard candy)


· Choking can be prevented.

· Be alert for small objects that can cause choking, such as coins, buttons, and small toys.

· Check under furniture and between cushions for small items that children could find and put in their mouths.

· Latex balloons are a choking hazard.

Keep items that are choking hazards away from babies and young children. These include:

· Coins

· Buttons

· Toys with small parts

· Toys that can fit entirely in a child’s mouth

· Small balls, marbles

· Balloons

· Small hair bows, barrettes, rubber bands

· Pen or marker caps

· Small button-type batteries

· Refrigerator magnets

· Pieces of dog food

Keep the following foods away from children younger than 4 years:

· Hot dogs

· Nuts and seeds

· Chunks of meat or cheese

· Whole grapes

· Hard or sticky candy

· Popcorn

· Chunks of peanut butter

· Chunks of raw vegetables

· Chewing gum