The Fourth of July is already surrounded by enough dangers to stress parents out. We’re looking at you, open water and fireworks.
But what about your kids’ plates?
Summer is peak hot dog season. assuming 150 million francs are consumed on the Fourth of July alone.According to 2019 data, there is a strong chance that they will be on the menu during the holidays.
So, now is “a good reminder time that hot dogs can be serious choking hazards,” says Dr. Tanya Altman said, “Author ofToddler and Toddler Basics“
The size, shape, and texture of hot dogs make them especially dangerous to young children, so pediatricians are here to explain everything parents need to know before handing a dog over to a child.
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Any food that is “large, round and solid” can be a potential choking hazard, Altman said.
That’s why hot dogs often rank at the top of List of foods to avoid giving to young children. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that hot dogs should be kept away from children under the age of 4.
Other potentially dangerous foods include whole grapes, hard or sticky candy, pieces of meat or cheese, and popcorn.
“Hot dogs are long and round and when[younger kids]bite a piece of it, it looks like a really thick quarter and it’s the perfect size to snuggle in a child’s throat,” Altman said.
incidents of suffocation among children
in 2013 Study of incidence of suffocation in young children, the AAP reports “suffocation is a leading cause of injury in children, and can sometimes be fatal.”
Researchers examined nonfatal food choking-related emergency department visits among children ages 0 to 14 from 2001 to 2009. On average, 12,400 children (or 34 per day) were treated for a suffocation event.
Hard candy caused the most choking episodes (15 percent), followed by other candies (13 percent), hot dogs (12 percent) and meats other than bones (12 percent).
Hot dogs are responsible for 2.6% of cases.
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At what age can a child eat a hot dog?
Altman said parents can start introducing solid foods (except raw honey, which is known to cause foodborne illness in infants) to babies as young as 6 months old. Parents should consider both the nutritional value and the safety of the food when choosing their child’s diet.
“If you want to puree or mash a hot dog into bite-sized pieces, theoretically you can feed it to an older infant or toddler, but I would argue that this may not be the best option nutritionally could.”
But kids love hot dogs. We all know they will eat them. So when they do, they should be cut appropriately to reduce the risk of suffocation.
“I’m one of those crazy moms who go to the birthday party with the plastic knife that cuts all the hot dogs,” Altman said.
First cut the hot dog lengthwise
All foods for infants and young children should be cut into -inch or smaller pieces, AAP recommends. However, “cylindrical-shaped foods” require extra care.
“Hot dogs, for example, are exactly the size of a child’s airway and can easily get in there,” the USDA wrote in its note. April 2019 “Infant Nutrition and Diet” Guide for WIC.
Thus, the hot dog should first be cut lengthwise into strips and then cut into smaller pieces again.
The same goes for other common choking hazards like grapes, cherries and cherry tomatoes.
For older kids who want to be like a grown-up and eat a hot dog while holding it, Altman says parents can still cut the hot dog in half the way it is before, to reduce the choking risk. could help reduce it.
When can parents stop cutting hot dogs for kids?
The risk of suffocation usually decreases by age 4 because children are “a little more aware, their throats are a little bigger and they are able to handle things they need to chew a little more before swallowing, Altman said. .
But even 4 isn’t a “magical” number, he warned. “Anything can be a choking hazard.”
In addition to cutting out risky foods, caregivers should also teach children how to eat food by taking small bites and chewing appropriately before swallowing. Adults should also stay within reach of children while eating so that they can help if an incident occurs.
what to do in case of suffocation
“Make sure the child is really choking,” Altman said. If a baby is coughing or talking, there is a chance that the baby may push the food out on its own.
But look out for the following symptoms of a suffocating child:
unable to breathe
gasping or wheezing
unable to talk
hold on their neck
limp or faint
If a child is choking, call 911 and start rescue process Such as the back blow for infants or the Heimlich maneuver for older children.
But prevention is always best.
“For younger kids, just take a bite out of it and for older kids, watch them carefully when they’re eating and remind them to take smaller bites,” Altman said.
This article was originally published on USA Today: 4th of July warning: Hot dogs are a ‘serious choking hazard’ for kids