Hot Dogs Could Be a Choking Hazard for Kids

March 23, 2010 - Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Baltimore

For Americans, hot dogs make for the most loved junk food, but according to paediatricians at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center they are a choking hazard for young children.

They said that the research shows that hot dogs are the top cause of food-related choking in children under the age of 3, with 17 percent of cases caused by hot dog inhalation, followed by hard candy (10 percent), grapes (9 percent) and nuts (8 percent).

“Every food poses a choking risk in young kids but the hot dog has just the right size and consistency to perfectly block the airway, it’s the perfect plug that doesn’t allow any air to get through,” said Johns Hopkins Children’s paediatrician Dr. Nisha Kapadia, during a recent presentation at the hospital.

Therefore, paediatricians should remind all parents to mince or thinly slice hot dogs before giving them to young children, Kapadia said.

Other high-risk foods, like hard candy, grapes and nuts, should be withheld completely from children younger than 4, she said.

Paediatricians urge heightened awareness about high-risk foods among doctors and parents alike.

Kapadia said that infants and young children under 3 years of age are particularly prone to food choking because they don’t have a full set of teeth to chew and grind the food before swallowing.

Children between 3 and 4 years of age have molars but are still learning how to chew.

Children’s high level of activity also puts them at risk for inhaling food while playing or running around, she said.


Injury Free Coalition for Kids