COLUMBUS -- A new study examined nonfatal food-related choking among children 14 years of age or younger from 2001 through 2009.
During the nine-year study period by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute, more than 12,000 children were treated each year in U.S. emergency departments for injuries from choking on food, which equals 34 children each day.
According to the study, hard candy caused the most choking episodes (15 percent), followed by other candy (13 percent), meat, other than hot dogs (12 percent), and bones (12 percent).
These four food types alone accounted for more than half of all the choking episodes in the study.
More than 60 percent of the choking episodes occurred among children 4 years of age and younger. The number of choking episodes decreased with increasing age until 7 years of age, after which the number of episodes remained relatively unchanged through age 14.
However, the number of choking episodes involving candy increased with increasing age, and by age 4 years, more than half of choking episodes involved candy.
Children younger than 5 years of age should not be given hard candies or gum, and raw fruits and vegetables should be cut into small pieces. Young children should be supervised while eating and should eat sitting down. More choking prevention tips are available at www.nationwidechildrens.org/cirp-choking-prevention.
This is the first study to use a nationally representative sample to examine nonfatal food-related choking among children treated in U.S. emergency departments over a multi-year period. Data for this study were obtained from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System - All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP), which is operated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.