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New AAP Policy on Choking Prevention

2/22/2010  

Choking is a leading cause of injury and death among children, especially children 3 years of age or younger. Food, toys and coins account for most of the choking-related events in young children, who put objects in their mouths as they explore new environments. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) policy statement, “Prevention of Choking Among Children,” published in the March issue of Pediatrics (appearing online February 22), contains recommendations for government agencies, manufacturers, parents, teachers, child care workers and health care professionals to help prevent choking among children. Because the size, shape and consistency of certain toys and food increase the possibility of being a choking hazard, and because many of the prevention strategies currently in place to prevent choking on toys have not yet been implemented to prevent choking on food, the AAP recommends: 

  • Warning labels on foods that pose a high choking risk.

  • A recall of food products that pose a significant choking hazard.

  • The establishment of a nationwide food-related choking-incident surveillance and reporting system.

  • Food manufacturers should design new food and redesign existing food to minimize choking risk.

  • CPR and choking first aid should be taught to parents, teachers and child care providers.

Pediatricians should continue to provide guidance to parents on safe and appropriate food and toy choices, as recommended by the AAP.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.