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Nannies: Be on the lookout for food choking hazards

Choking is one of the the most common medical emergencies that affects children, and it is also one of the most preventable. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), food is the cause of over fifty percent of choking incidents, and a new study published in the AAP's official journal, Pediatrics, provides more details on the extensiveness of food as a choking hazard. Nannies, especially those who care for small children, should be careful of the types of food that they give the children under their supervision. 

The researchers in the Pediatrics study named hard candy, other candy (mostly gum), meat (excluding hotdogs), bone and fruits and vegetables as their top food choking hazards. Their results were based on a ten-year-long survey of non-fatal food choking incidents that had been recorded in emergency departments of American hospitals. According to their research, an average of 34 children are treated in emergency rooms each day because of food-related choking.

Although hot dogs were low on the overall list of choking hazards, they pose a high risk of severe injury and possible death. Most children who are treated for choking are sent home the same day, but those who choked on hot dogs were much more likely to need overnight hospitalization. 

To prevent choking, the AAP recommends that caregivers:

  • Cut food for babies and toddlers no larger than one half-inch.
  • Encourage children to thoroughly chew food.
  • Insist that the child must sit whenever he has food in his mouth.
  • Supervise all meals.

People who watch children regularly should also be trained in first aid and CPR.

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