Choking Warnings: Not Just for Tots

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Small toys, magnets and other objects might easily get lodged in a toddler’s throat by accident, but small children aren’t the only ones at risk of asphyxiation.

Miriam Starobin, for example, was a laughing 12-year-old until she choked on a piece of chewing gum during her choir class, launching her into a panic, according to the New York Daily News. (Luckily, her young friend knew the Heimlich maneuver.)

While many product warnings suggest keeping small objects away from the mouths of children younger than 3 years old, kids who die from choking on foreign objects are 4.6 years old on average, according to a recent study, and some are even teenagers.

Another surprise, notes Consumer Reports, is that a study published in the Archives of Otolaryngology found that more than half of the objects choked on were non-food items. Only 42% of cases involving kids 20 and younger involved food items.

The study also found that about 60% of the cases involved boys, and children who were admitted to the hospital spent 6.4 days there on average. Also, patients underwent two procedures to remove the object on average and their families had to pay $34,652 as a result.

According to Consumer Reports, even if children are older than 3, parents should take a look at the small objects around the house that are at children’s eye level to remove anything that could cause choking.

Additionally, hot dogs and carrots should be cut up before being served to young children. As MainStreet previously reported, hot dogs have been seen as a particularly risky food for young children due to their ideal shape as a choking hazard, according to concerned parents and food safety advocates.

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