A friend sent me a link to this article about Pediatricians wanting to redesign hot dogs and hard candy to stop kids from choking.  Seriously.

– MONDAY, Feb. 22 (HealthDay News) — The leading group of pediatricians in the United States is pushing for a redesign of common foods such as hot dogs and candies, along with new warning labels placed on food packaging, to help curb sometimes fatal incidents of child choking.

…The policy statement called for the government to establish a “mandatory system . . . to label foods with appropriate warnings according to their choking risk, to conduct detailed surveillance and investigate food-related choking incidents, and to warn the public about emerging food-related choking hazards.”

Manufacturers’ responsibility would be to affix “choking hazard” labels to high-risk products and to consider shapes, sizes and textures when designing products….

I have so many thoughts about this but two come immediately to mind and tip of my tongue:

#1 is Dumb-struck Awe that this is really something that we need to spend government monies on when X millions children have made it to a ripe-old age eating sausages BY TAKING SMALL BITES AND CHEWING!  We need special labels on Grapes?  Even if we liquefied everything that a child would eat, they still could choke or, worse to my mind, drown.  Yes, inhaling the food drink and drowning in it.  #2 can fix the lodged food but nothing you can physically do to suction the liquefied food from your childs lungs.  The single smart thing written in this article was this line, “The AAP also called on parents, pediatricians and other health-care workers to pay more attention to the issue.  The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) responded, but put special emphasis on the role of parents, teachers and other child care providers in helping keep kids safe.”  Its about the parental involvement.  Being with your kids (or charges) at meal time, teaching them to slow down, take small bites and chew completely.

#2: Comes from this comment, “Wouldn’t it be better to redesign the parents so they have actual brains?”  This relates back to #1 and parental involvement.  Oh how I wish there could be a license to have children.  I know that there is no manual that comes with babies but really, EVERY parent should know how to properly perform Abdominal thrusts (what used to be known as the Heimlich Maneuver before the Heimlich family got lawsuit happy).  Want a better use of governmental resources?  How about some kind of law that all people need to take a CPR and first aid class when they get their drivers license and have to re-cert when you renew your license.  There are enough people driving and getting licenses new and renewed that this single skill would save thousands, not only on the road but the mall, street, at work…  Getting back to parental brains, we have lots of handouts in the clinic about quitting smoking, alcohol and drug abuse and adult portion size but I would love to see one that shows parents how to cut children’s food in a smart way.  It sounds silly but really, how many of us have cut hot dogs for kids into little coins (which are STILL the same size and shape as a windpipe!) instead of cutting length-wise into long fingers?  I know that I have and never thought twice about it.  Though nothing ever happened, I will think about how I cut a hot dog for a child in the future.

What do you think of the article?

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