Approximately 5,000 children ages 14 and under are treated in hospital emergency rooms for aspirating and ingesting toys and toy parts each year. In 1998, 477 children ages 14 and under died from suffocation, strangulation and entrapment.
The majority of childhood choking injuries and deaths are associated with food items. Choking occurs when food or small objects block the airway. This prevents oxygen from getting to the lungs and the brain. Young children are at risk from choking on small, round foods such as hot dogs, candies, nuts, grapes, marshmallows and popcorn.
Teach children to sit down when eating, only put small amounts of food in their mouths, and chew food thoroughly. Dangerous nonfood items include coins, balloons, marbles, and buttons.
Adults, and children ages 10 and older should know how to perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and the Heimlich maneuver.
Children often become entangled when clothing or jewelry get caught on school buses and playground equipment. Children should avoid wearing drawstrings or necklaces in these situations.