Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Favorite foods can cause serious choking accidents in kids

Date:
July 29, 2014
Source:
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Health Sciences
Summary:
Food—not toys—is the most common culprit of choking accidents in kids under 5 years of age. An expert offers tips to prevent food choking accidents.

Most parents never dream that their children's favorite foods can pose choking hazards.

Related Articles


It happened to Landon Jones when he was 15 months old. He was walking around eating a handful of nuts when a cashew became lodged in his bronchi (wind passage to his lung) causing wheezing and coughing.

"At the time, Landon had a cold so it was not obvious if the coughing was related to his illness or choking," recalled his mother, Ula Jones.

Eventually, the nut in his bronchi was detected by his doctor and had to be removed in a delicate surgery under anesthesia. Thankfully, the toddler made a full recovery.

"Landon's situation is surprisingly common," explained Landon's surgeon, Dr. Nina Shapiro, a professor of head and neck surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "In many kids, the food object passes down to their bronchi where it gets lodged and they present with coughing, wheezing, or even what might appear to be pneumonia. At first, it is not always clear that the child has had a choking incident."

In fact, it is food -- not toys -- that is the most common culprit of choking accidents in kids under 5 years of age. More than 10,000 children visit emergency rooms each year due to choking on food. While most of these events are not fatal, one child dies every five days from a food-choking accident. The reasons have a lot to do with a child's anatomy.

"Young children have underdeveloped swallowing mechanisms, immature teeth and narrow airways which put them at a higher risk for choking on food," said Shapiro who is also the director of pediatric ear, nose and throat at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA. "Plus, the diameter of a child's airway is about the size of their pinky, so high-risk foods can easily block their tiny airways and prevent their ability to breathe."

The list of high-risk foods for children under age 5 years includes many of kids' favorites:

• Cheese sticks

• Chewing gum

• Chunks of meat or cheese

• Chunks of peanut butter

• Chunks of raw vegetables

• Dried fruit

• Grapes

• Hard or sticky candy and lollipops

• Hot dogs

• Nuts

• Popcorn

• Seeds such as pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds

"The good news is that not all high-risk foods should be completely avoided. Many are healthy for young children -- as long as they are served in the right form," added Shapiro.

Here are some tips:

• Vegetables should be cooked and cut into small pieces.

• Hot dogs and cheese sticks should be cut lengthwise, then widthwise, and then into the shape of small moons.

• Grapes should be peeled and cut in half or quarters.

• Nut butters should be spread thinly onto crackers or bread.

• Young children should always be attended to by an adult when they eat and only eat developmentally appropriate foods.

• Children should sit up straight and not play or run while eating.

"We cut all the foods and we are a lot more cautious," said Landon's mother. "We don't feed him in the car and he is not going to have nuts for a really long time."

If a child does choke and is unable to breathe, call 9-1-1 and perform the Heimlich maneuver.

Even if the child seems to choke but then coughs and appears fine, the object may have become lodged and the child should see a doctor.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Health Sciences. "Favorite foods can cause serious choking accidents in kids." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140729092642.htm>.
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Health Sciences. (2014, July 29). Favorite foods can cause serious choking accidents in kids. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140729092642.htm
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Health Sciences. "Favorite foods can cause serious choking accidents in kids." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140729092642.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) A study from University of Michigan researchers found that expectant fathers see a decrease in testosterone as the baby's birth draws near. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins