Choking is among the top causes of death among children, and it is not uncommon for adults to sustain serious injuries or even die after choking incidents. Food is the most frequent culprit in choking accidents, but toys and household items also present dangers. In this month’s blog, we explore the prevalence of choking injuries among children, how to prevent them, and when a Northern New Jersey personal injury attorney may be able to help. If you or a loved one has been injured due to choking, Buttafuoco & Associates may be able to help.
Get in touch with us at 1-800-NOW-HURT to learn more about your rights during a free consultation.
Choking Hazards and Injuries: The Facts
According to the New York State Department of Health, choking is the fourth most common cause of unintentional death in young children under five years old. This is also the age group that is most at risk for choking injuries and death because the diameter of their windpipes are not much larger than a drinking straw.
Statistics show that every five days, one child in the U.S. dies after choking on food, and sends over 10,000 more to the emergency room annually.
Although product manufacturers often include warning labels on toys and other products, this doesn’t necessarily prevent the risk of choking, especially if a young child who cannot read is involved.
In some cases, choking risks are not fully disclosed or even identified until after a tragedy has happened.
Even if you are unsure whether or not you have a case after a choking accident, it may be in your best interests to get in touch with a Northern New Jersey personal injury attorney at Buttafuoco & Associates. We have successfully handled many product liability cases over the years and may be able to help you, too.
Choking Hazards Checklist
While some common choking hazards are obvious, others are less so. A good rule of thumb is: any object or food that is larger in diameter than a drinking straw can be dangerous to a young child.
It may be helpful to place the following checklist in a visible place to help you stay vigilant.
- Snack foods (popcorn, pretzel nuggets, chips)
- Sticky candy and gum, especially jelly beans, hard candies, marshmallows
- Cough drops
- Whole grapes
- Small fruits and vegetables, even fruits cut into chunks, especially cherries, whole grapes, raw carrots, peas, and celery
- Dried fruits, nuts, and seeds
- Sausages and hot dogs, especially if cut up
- Meat and fish with bones
- Any small, round-shaped food
- Peanut butter
- Toys with small parts
- Pen or marker caps
- Small batteries
- School supplies (crayons, erasers)
- Rings, earrings, safety pins
- Holiday decorations (small figurines, ornaments, tinsel, and lights)
Always review the labels of toys you purchase for your children to see if they pose a choking hazard. You can typically trust your intuition in these cases: if it seems like a potential danger, it likely is.
How to Prevent Choking Accidents
As a parent, there are many ways to proactively prevent your child from a choking accident.
- Supervise children while eating. Not only should you watch for difficulties they may be having with food, but ensure that they sit up straight and eat slowly. Avoid rushing your children, even older children to finish their meals, as this can lead to accidents. Do not let children eat while they are playing or doing other activities. Providing ample water and other liquids during meals can also help prevent choking.
- Cut all foods into small pieces and cook raw vegetables and fruits to soften them.
- Be familiar with how to perform CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver.
- Call 911 if a choking accident occurs that you cannot handle yourself
When to Contact a Northern New Jersey Personal Injury Attorney
If your child has experienced a choking accident and you are concerned that it was due to negligence on the part of a manufacturer, you may have a case. Buttafuoco & Associates offers free consultations to help you understand your rights and how to move forward.
Get in touch today at 1-800-NOW-HURT.