Dr. Nguyen Pham Addresses Choking Hazards, Prevention

Choking is the leading cause of death and injury among children, particularly in children ages 3 and younger, a CHOC Children’s otolaryngologist tells “American Health Journal.”

Food, toys and coins are the primary causes of choking in children in this age group, says Dr. Nguyen Pham. Spherical toys are of particular concern, as are latex balloons. Hotdogs, grapes and nuts are especially dangerous foods, Dr. Pham says.

Learn more about choking hazards, including prevention and treatment, in “American Health Journal,” a television program that airs on PBS and other national network affiliates that reach more than 40 million households.

Each 30-minute episode features six segments with a diverse range of medical specialists discussing a full spectrum of health topics. For more information, visit www.discoverhealth.tv.

Nguyen Pham, M.D., attended medical school at UC Irvine, and then completed his internship and residency in otolaryngology at the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. He conducted his fellowship in pediatric otolaryngology at Stanford University in Palo Alto.

More articles about choking:

Food-Related Choking Incidents Continue to Climb – Tips to Keep Your Little Ones Safe

Numbers of food-related choking incidents in children continue to climb, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Choking is a leading cause of injury among children, and can sometimes be fatal, especially in children 4 years of age or younger.

In a recent study published by the AAP, researchers investigated nonfatal pediatric food choking-related emergency department visits from 2001 to 2009, using data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program. The authors found that an average of 12,400 children ages 0 to 14 years of age were treated in emergency departments for nonfatal food-related choking annually, with hard candy being the most common culprit.

To that end, parents should be careful of certain foods, especially due to size and shape, that are more likely to be choking hazards. Children younger than 4 should not be fed round, firm food unless they are cut into small, non-round pieces. See examples below of foods that can pose a choking hazard:

• nuts
• meat chunks
• grapes
• hard candy
• popcorn
• chunks of peanut butter
• raisins
• raw carrots
• hot dogs

Remember to always supervise young children when they are eating. Children should also sit while eating and never walk, play or run with food in their mouths. Other non-food, round or conforming choking hazards include:

• coins
• small balls
• balloons (inflated and deflated)
• marbles
• small toy parts
• safety pins
• jewelry
• buttons
• pen caps
• small button-like batteries (like for a watch)

For more information on choking or airway obstruction, please visit the CHOC health library at: http://www.choc.org/healthlibrary/topic.cfm?PageID=P02968

To learn about the Red Cross “five and five” approach to delivering first aid when choking is occurring, please click here: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/first-aid-choking/FA00025

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    Choking is the leading cause of death and injury among children, particularly in children ages 3 and younger, a CHOC Children’s otolaryngologist tells “American Health Journal.” Food, toys and coins are ...