Choking events are a significant cause of childhood morbidity and mortality. Many parents of children under the age of 4 are not aware they might be exposing their child to choking hazard foods. Unlike the manufacturing standards for labeling toys intended for children, the food industry does not regulate choking hazard foods in a similar fashion. The American Academy of Pediatricians has recommended the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulate choking hazard foods. Parents are more likely to correctly identify nonfood choking hazards than they are food choking hazards.
Studies have shown most parents do recognize seeds, gum and sticky candy as choking hazards and avoid giving them to their young children. However more than 50% of parents surveyed failed to recognize hot dogs, popcorn and grapes as choking hazard foods. Hot dogs, candy, nuts and grapes are the most common food items noted to cause choking and result in asphyxiation. More parental education and better regulation of the food industry could prevent future catastrophes.