Do you worry about your kids choking on food? I think almost all of us do. And unfortunately it’s for good reason.
“Researchers estimate that emergency rooms treat more than 10,000 kids a year for food-choking incidents,” reports Health Day. And it gets worse. “It is estimated that one child dies every five days due to such incidents.”
It’s so scary. (Not unlike the rest of parenting!) The wholesome food you are trying to lovingly feed your child suddenly becomes a safety issue.
Here’s what is happening: “Young children have underdeveloped swallowing mechanisms, immature teeth and narrow airways which put them at a higher risk for choking on food,” said Shapiro, director of pediatric ear, nose and throat at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA. “Plus, the diameter of a child’s airway is about the size of their pinky, so high-risk foods can easily block their tiny airways and prevent their ability to breathe.”
Lots of foods can become potentially hazardous. Babble mentions everything from hotdogs to pretzels in its list of Top 10 Foods That Are Choking Hazards for Kids, altogether sending an average of 34 kids a day to the ER.
But when it comes to choking, no food has been talked about more than grapes. (Because of awful stories like this.) Recently I’ve seen posts and photos encouraging parents to cut grapes length-wise instead of in half the way most of us had probably been doing it.
However, for my money, the easiest way to tackle this safety issue as a mom of four kids–and a blogger who reads and researches for a living–is to quarter them. It literally takes 1 extra second, and just like that, the safety risks plummet.
Then we can go back to just enjoying fresh, nourishing food without worrying (nearly as much) about a trip to the hospital.
Experts advise cutting food like grapes (along with cheese sticks and hotdogs) until kids reach about the age of 5.
In the meantime, this hilarious but heartfelt list of 49 Parent Fears–And How to Get Over Them might be what we all need because we do need something! A few of my favorites from Liz Kozak’s list of “Things That Scare Me [After Having a Baby] include:
- Driving at night
- Nuts (I ate peanut butter and then kissed her — and then hated myself for a day)
- Swear words on TV seeping into the baby’s brain
- Swear words out of the mouth of her mother seeping into the baby’s brain
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