One of the leading causes of deaths in toddlers and infants in the United States is choking. Specifically, children all over the nation choke on small household items and objects, toys, and food. In fact, these types of choking accidents account for 75% of fatalities in children under the age of 3.
Choking Dangers for Small Children
Research indicates that more than 12,000 children are taken to hospital emergency rooms every year due to choking accidents. Choking is the fourth leading cause of accidental death for children under the age of five. This is because the breathing tube or trachea of a child that age is about the diameter of a drinking straw. This results in toddlers and infants being at a much higher risk of choking on items placed in their mouth that otherwise would not be as dangerous to older children or adults.
Unfortunately, young children in this age range often place items in their mouth, as it is their way of exploring the world and their new surroundings. Young children also place things in their mouth when trying to learn new motor and visual skills. But, because young children do not have good — or sometimes any — reasoning skills or sense of danger, they do not and cannot understand the risk of their actions could lead to choking to death. While the gag reflex protects most children from choking, many times young children are unable to remove the foreign object without the help of an adult. For this reason, parents and caregivers of young children must diligently supervise infants and toddlers to prevent a tragedy. Many times choking accidents, injuries and accidental deaths are preventable by way of closer adult supervision, and also adequate warnings on the products.
Pediatricians have also warned that choking hazards in young children are linked to toys and foods. In fact, the Children’s National Medical Center (“CNMC”) in Washington, DC, conducted a study that revealed infants and toddlers placed toys in their mouths an average of 20 times in an hour. When a toy is damaged, defective, or broken this poses an even greater threat because parts can break off and block a young child’s airway when swallowing the items. Preventing access to choking hazards by small children is dependent upon adult supervision and appropriate product warnings.
Common Choking Hazards
There are many common choking hazards that can pose a danger to young children. The leading cause of accidental choking death in toddlers and infants is food. The second leading choking hazard for this age group is toys, followed by household items. When it comes to food, adults have to pay close attention to the size, shape, and texture of the food they are feeding their young infants and toddlers as these can contribute to the risk of choking and resulting injuries or even death. The most common food choking hazards are:
- Snack foods such as crackers, chips, pretzels, and chips;
- Fruits with skin as well as whole grapes, cherries, and blueberries;
- Raw vegetables including cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots;
- Dried fruit, nuts, and seeds;
- Sausages, meats, fish with bones, and hot dogs; and
- Peanut butter, particularly with soft white bread.
Experienced Nevada Attorneys
Injuries resulting from choking accidents can result in serious injuries or even death. Our experienced attorneys at H&P Law will explain your rights and obligations and help fight for the monetary compensation you deserve. Contact our Las Vegas or Henderson office to schedule your initial case evaluation.