The ONE very common food that actually poses a bigger choking hazard to kids than grapes
I think by now, we all know just how dangerous it can be to give a young child whole grapes to snack on.
There has been countless devastating stories of babies and toddlers choking on grapes, and according to the Child Accident Prevention Trust, 'the size and shape of grapes means they can completely plug a child’s airway. In fact, the tight seal produced by the grape’s smooth surface makes them difficult to dislodge with standard first aid techniques.'
But did you know that sausages can be just as lethal to young children – if not more?
In fact, a petition is now going round the UK to make sure parents know about the dangers of sausages, and how vital it is to slice or cut them up correctly when feeding them to a toddler or young child.
According to Dr Jamie Cooper, an emergency department consultant in Aberdeen, grapes are 'only' the third most common cause of food-related fatal choking episodes, after hotdogs (sausages) and sweets.
Much like grapes, The smooth, cylindrical shape of sausages can also plug a child's small airway, blocking it completely.
Tragically, in the last few days, a two-year-old girl in Hertfordshire choked on a piece of sausage while at nursery, and emergency responders were unable to save her.
Launched a petition
Friends and family members of the child have this week launched a petition to make people aware of the dangers, and are also calling on the local council to ban sausages and grapes from all nursery settings. Some local schools have also withdrawn sausages from their menus.
The petition's description reads:
'This is a petition we never thought we'd be writing.
'Tragically on the 14th November 2020, [Our] best friend's daughter lost her life after choking on a piece of sausage whilst having her lunch at nursery.
'She was just 2 years old. Our friends have lost their baby. Our baby has lost his friend. Two young boys have lost their little sister.
'We are fully aware that accidents happen but things can also be put in place to prevent these accidents occurring.
'Sausages are renowned for their awkward shape and tough skin, thus making it extra challenging for small children to chew. Grapes fall into the same category.
'We are appealing to get sausages and grapes banned from all nursery settings ASAP so no other family has to go through the devastation and heartbreak that so many people have felt this weekend.'
Cut them lengthways, not horizontally
Can we all agree that any food that claims a toddler or child's life should come with a hefty and unmissable choking hazard warning? This would help inform parents and caretakers about the risks and might minimize the chance of something going wrong.
To serve this food safety, sausages and grapes must not be just cut across, horizontally, as many do. They HAVE to be sliced lengthways in order to reduce the risk of choking.
That's according to, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), who back in 2010 noted that hot dogs posed the greatest choking risk in kids causing more choking deaths than any other food.
'If you were to design the perfect plug for a child’s airway, you couldn’t do much better than a hot dog,” said Dr Gary Smith, a professor of paediatrics, in an AAP news release at the time.
'It will wedge itself in tightly and completely block the airway, causing the child to die within minutes because of lack of oxygen,' he said.
Here's the US advice that we could ALL do with knowing and following:
- Cut hot dogs length-wise, as well as width-wise – do the same with grapes, while you’re at it)
- Why? Because this will change the shape so it’s less likely to get stuck in a child's throat
- No kid under the age of four should eat a hot dog (sausage) unless it's been cut into very small pieces
- Kids over 4 may still need food cutting up – experts say there isn’t a 'magic' number as 'anything can be a choking hazard'
- For older kids who want to eat their hot dogs like a grown-up, try slicing the hot dog length-wise before putting it in the bun to reduce the choking hazard
- Teach kids of all ages to take small bites and chew what’s in their mouths.