SEATTLE — Choking sends an alarming number of young children to the emergency room each year and the number is on the rise.
A new study in the Journal Pediatrics looked at thousand of kids who had ER visits because of non-fatal, food-related choking between 2001 and 2009. On average, researchers found that more than 12,000 children under the age of 15 were treated for food-related choking each year — that’s about 34 kids every day.
Several food items caused the majority of problems. Hard candy accounted for 16 percent of ER visits followed by other candy at 13 percent and bones and meat at 12 percent.
Hot dogs were not included under meats because they have their own category since they caused almost 3 percent of the food-related choking cases. Doctors said hot dogs are hard to chew and the perfect size to block the airways in a young child.
The study’s authors recommended placing warning labels on foods that pose a high choking risk. They also suggest developing public awareness campaigns to educate everyone about the danger of food-related choking.