Choking Fears Prompt New Hot Dog

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Hot dogs as well as popcorn, peanuts and candy are among foods that pose an especially worrisome choking risk for kids, and those concerns have recently led to new designs and new warning labels for some of America’s favorite foods.

About 17% of emergency room choking cases involving kids younger than 14 are caused by hot dogs, according to earlier reports. And choking is the leading cause of death among kids age 3 or younger, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

There’s a new hot dog design on its way however, according to The New York Times. Invented by the food designer responsible for Steak-umms, the new dog has eight deep, lengthwise slits. When they’re cooked, the slits expand, and when the hot dog is eaten, it breaks up more easily, the Times explains. It’s unclear who will be making the dogs, but they’re expected to be marketed in the East Coast in the near future.

There has been some resistance to demands for a choke-proof hot dog, however, from the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, the Times says, but many hot dog makers have added warning labels to their packaging to inform parents of choking risks posed by the processed meats.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has suggested that similar warnings labels be required on packages of foods that are particularly easy to choke on as a safety measure for kids, as MainStreet reported early this year.

But choking isn’t only a risk among toddlers, whose back molars are still developing. Teens can choke on objects too, as MainStreet previously reported.

The development of choke-proof foods especially for children can’t be forced directly by regulators or medical professionals, but doctors say that warning labels should be required on all foods that come in shapes that could easily cause small children to choke, according to the AAP.

Peditricians also say that there should be better public education about choking hazards and parents should watch their kids more closely when they’re eating certain foods.

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