Choking on food common among US kids: Study

Credit: Metro File Photo.
Credit: Metro file photo

Each day over the past decade, about 34 U.S. children went to the emergency room after choking on food, according to a new study of a group of nationally representative hospitals.

Researchers found that candy was the most common culprit — although choking on hot dogs, nuts and seeds most often required kids to be hospitalized.

“These numbers are high,” said Dr. Gary Smith, who worked on the study at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

What’s more, he added, “This is an underestimate. This doesn’t include children who were treated in urgent care, by a primary care physician or who had a serious choking incident and were able to expel the food and never sought care.”

The estimated 12,435 children ages 14 and younger who were treated for choking on food each year also doesn’t include the average 57 childhood food choking deaths reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention annually, the researchers noted.

Smith and his colleagues analyzed injury surveillance data covering 2001 through 2009.

They found that children 1 year old and younger accounted for about 38 percent of all childhood ER visits for choking on food. Many of those infants choked on formula or breast milk.

Overall, candies caused just over one in four emergency room trips, followed by meat, bones, fruits and vegetables.

Ten percent of children had to be hospitalized after choking. Kids who choked on a hot dog or on seeds and nuts were two to three times more likely to require hospitalization than those who choked on other foods, according to the findings published Monday in Pediatrics.

“We know that because hot dogs are the shape and size of a child’s airway that they can completely block a child’s airway,” Smith told Reuters Health, noting that seeds and nuts are also difficult to swallow when children put a lot in their mouths at once.

Dr. Ronald Litman, an anesthesiologist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said it’s hard to tell from this study how many kids are “seriously affected” after a choking incident.

“The vast majority of these kids, by the time they get to the emergency room, they’ve coughed or choked it out,” Litman, who wasn’t involved in the new research, told Reuters Health.

However, he said that he and his colleagues see a few kids every year who have inhaled peanuts and end up in intensive care because their lungs mount an inflammatory response to the fat in the nuts.

Smith, also the president of the nonprofit Child Injury Prevention Alliance, said many choking incidents could be prevented with better food design and labeling from manufacturers and with extra precautions taken by parents of young children.

“Clearly, rule No. 1 is supervision” when kids are eating, said Dr. James Reilly, from Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del.

Making sure food is in small enough pieces is also important, Reilly, who has studied choking but wasn’t part of the study team, told Reuters Health.

For example, he said, grapes should be cut in half for young children, but raisins are probably fine whole.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

NYPD looking for man they say assaulted elderly…

      The New York City Police Department is asking for the public's assistance in locating a Hispanic male 20's wanted in connection with…

Local

Three arrested after allegedly assaulting off-duty officer in…

Three men were arrested early Saturday morning after allegedly assaulting an off-duty officer at a Bronx bodega, and the NYPD is asking for the public's…

Local

Healthcare union creates vibrant West Indian Day Parade…

Volunteers worked almost around the clock through the weekend, putting the flashy finishing touches on hundreds of costume pieces 1199SEIU members will wear while marching…

National

Top 10 most hipster college campuses

Hipsters are everywhere these days. You can't walk down the anywhere anymore without seeing a pair of skinny jeans on a handlebar mustachioed 20-something, a…

Arts

Theater: Discouraging 'Poor Behavior'

Theresa Rebeck's latest off-Broadway play, about two couples sparring on a weekend getaway, repeats a few mistakes of her past.

Gossip

Chef Todd English arrested for DWI in the…

Celebrity chef Todd English is facing DWI charges after a traffic stop on Sunday.

Movies

Box office: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is 2014's…

This weekend "The Guardians of the Galaxy" passed the fourth "Transformers" movie to become the highest grossing film of 2014.

Gossip

Spears back with controversial ex?

Is Briteny Spears back with Adnan Ghalib?

Sports

Novak Djokovic feeds off US Open crowd to…

Novak Djokovic isn't a native New Yorker, but he sure knows how to use the U.S. Open crowd to his advantage.

NFL

Odell Beckham still 'weeks away,' Tom Coughlin angry…

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has fought a losing battle against the media all preseason over the status of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…

Sex

When it comes to dating, height matters

Does a man’s height really matter when it comes to dating? Unfortunately - according to a new study - the answer looks like it’s yes.…

Travel

10 free apps to make traveling easier

Finding the nearest bathroom, calculating currency exchanges and locating your departure gate must have been difficult for travelers of previous generations. But we wouldn't know,…

Travel

How to get a seat upgrade to business…

It used to be much easier to upgrade your coach seat to business or even first class, but rigid rules and tighter schedules have made…