Monday, June 7, 2010


It must be a news for many that a child can suffocate to death because of food but that is the latest risk associated with eating wrong food by the wrong consumer. Reference here is to the suggestion made by reputed pediatricians to redesign many foods targeted at children to prevent the risk of choking. Hot dog was one of the first products identified as a choking hazard and there are demands from a section of the consumers to make them more easily chewable for kids. Some caterers have en designed new hot dog varieties which have light inundations to divide each one into pieces for easy eating. Processed food industry is again being blamed for a "crime" they are not responsible for because it is primarily the parental responsibility to ensure that children do not eat any thing and every thing without supervision till they grow up to be self reliant.

"There are no recent nationwide figures on food choking. In 2001, about 17,500 children 14 and younger were treated in emergency departments for choking, and 60 percent of the episodes were caused by food. In 2000, 160 children died from an obstruction of the respiratory tract.Children under 4 are at the highest risk, not only because their airways are small (the back of a toddler's throat narrows to the diameter of a straw) but also because of the way their eating abilities develop. Front teeth usually come in at 6 or 7 months — so babies can bite off a piece of food — but the first molars, which grind food down, do not arrive until about 15 months, and second molars around 26 months".

Improper eating habits can do harm even to adults and there are a number of instances of fatality due to choking in the past. Eating under a relaxed environment with parents to give company on a dining table, any child can be trained to develop correct habits of chewing and masticating optimum sized bites of food before swallowing and the choking possibility is practically nil under these conditions. In spite of the choking hazard labels that adorn the toys designed for kids, there have been reports of some "accidents", probably due to parental negligence. Industry and the government have important roles in ensuring the safety of children from public hazards but ultimately the buck stops at the door of the parents.


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