Hot dogs pose a deadly choking hazard and their texture and size should be redesigned to help avoid asphyxiation, pediatricians say.
Many hot dog packages already have warnings and tips for parents, but these labels aren’t required by federal regulators, says the American Academy of Pediatrics, which suggests that the warnings be required on packages of these particularly risky foods.
More than 10,000 kids under age 14 are rushed to the emergency room every year after choking on food, and about 17% of these cases are because of hot dogs, USA Today notes.
Many foods that may seem great for kids, including popcorn, grapes and nuts, are actually dangerous because they can get stuck in a child’s throat or lungs, according to Medical News Today, which notes that hot dogs “cause more choking deaths than any other food.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that round or cylindrical foods like hot dogs and carrot sticks be chopped up completely or broken up into half-inch pieces or smaller.
Candy is also a major cause of emergency room visits due to choking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and most of these cases were attributed to hard candy specifically.