The Blog

Pediatricians: Things Can Choke Kids; We Need Labels

3:10 PM, Feb 23, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

In talking to CPAC this week, George Will noted that the "agenda of dependence" is enabled by trial lawyers, the cultural result being the infantilization of the populace with warning labels like, "Do not fold stroller while child is inside."

As if on cue, a call for warning labels on foods that could choke your kids:

There are certain types of food that have high-risk characteristics that pose severe choking risks," Smith said. "For example, foods that are round or cylindrical in shape and are roughly the diameter of the back of a child's throat -- these types of foods can completely block the child's airway. When that happens, the child cannot move air. They then lack oxygen. And if that obstruction is not removed within a short amount of time, brain damage and death will ensue. So these are very serious choking risks."

The American Academy of Pediatrics lists hot dogs as the highest risk food for young kids. Grapes, raw carrots, apples and peanuts are also dangerous. Smith said he has treated many children who later died from choking on hot dogs and grapes.

Common sense itself should be sufficient to deal with this problem, but in the absence of that, we have common-sense tips from doctors:

• Cut hot dogs lengthwise and grapes in quarters. This changes the dangerous shape of the food, which can block throats of young children and even teenagers.

• Avoid giving toddlers other high-risk foods such as hard candy, nuts, seeds and raw carrots.

And, for those who have neither common-sense nor the sense to be properly scared silly by hyperventilating news coverage, we'll certainly soon have federal legislation. For the children, don't you know?

I will be working alongside them—Err, what would you call them? Big Hot Dog seems mildly inappropriate.— on the Hot Dog Anti-Defamation Act to counter the labeling legislation.

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 18 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers