The American Academy of Pediatrics is calling for sweeping changes in the way food is designed and labelled to minimise children’s chances of choking after recent deaths. “When 4-year-old Eric Stavros Adler choked to death on a piece of hot dog, his anguished mother never dreamed that the popular kids’ food could be so dangerous. Some food makers including Oscar Mayer have warning labels about choking, but not nearly enough, says Joan Stavros Adler, Eric’s mom. The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees. The nation’s largest pediatricians group is calling for sweeping changes in the way food is designed and labeled to minimize children’s chances for choking. Choking kills more than 100 U.S. children 14 years or younger each year and thousands more — 15,000 in 2001 — are treated in emergency rooms. Food, including candy and gum, is among the leading culprits, along with items like coins and balloons. Of the 141 choking deaths in kids in 2006, 61 were food-related. Surveillance systems lack detailed information about food choking incidents, which are thought to be underreported but remain a significant and under-appreciated problem, said Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.”
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