Choking Accidents in Children and Risky Foods

Recently I read that the American Academy of Pediatrics wants parents to know that choking is one of the leading causes of injury and death in children, especially those under three years of age, and aspirated food is the most dangerous threat to children’s airways. In the second edition of Backpacking With Babies and Small Children, and in each subsequent edition including the most recent Authors Guild Edition, I wrote:

“When you plan your  menus for your hiking trips, be sure the foods you take are age-appropriate for your family. According to surveys conducted by Johns Hopkins University, the following foods were most often involved in fatal choking episodes in children under age five:

  • Hot dogs, sausages
  • Round candy
  • Peanuts, nuts
  • Grapes
  • Hard cookies, biscuits
  • Meat chunks or slices
  • Raw carrot slices or sticks
  • Peanut butter, peanut butter sandwiches
  • Apple chunks or slices
  • Popcorn”

In the third edition of Backpacking With Babies and Small Children, I added:  “All of these are foods you might take with you when you hike. If you do, be sure your children are seated, not walking around, when they eat them. Cut the food into pieces small enough for your child to handle. Don’t introduce new solids on this list to your infant on a camping trip.” On the same page I wrote: “A child hiking along with a piece of hard candy in her mouth could easily choke on it. A mouthful of any food is a danger while walking, and candy on a stick is particularly perilous.”

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