New study sheds light on high rate of child choking injuries and deaths

A review of 2003 pediatric data from more than 3,000 hospitals in 36 states showed that in that single year, 2,7 million children were treated for choking, and nearly 2,000 died – an average of more than 5 deaths each day. Though airway obstructions in young children occur less often than other types of injuries, the death rate is higher, according to new research from the Children’s National Medical Center. Read more about the study in the Consumer Reports on Safety blog: Choking deaths are alarmingly high, new study says.
While conventional wisdom and many warning labels are geared to children under age three, Consumer Reports on Safety says:

Apparently, age three is not the magical year when choking stops being a risk to children. Even though toys with small parts carry a warning that they are “not for children under 3,” a recent study shows that the average age of children who die from choking incidents is 4.6 years. In fact, 25 percent of the products involved in choking deaths passed the toy-labeling criteria set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

While small toy parts and foreign objects accounted for most of the choking incidents, food items were the cause of 42% of incidents. According to American Academy of Pediatrics research, hot dogs are to blame for around 17 percent of food-related asphyxiations among children. Seeds, nuts, grapes and raw carrots also often pose a threat.
Food Choking Hazards from Consumer Reports
Tips for choking prevention from the American Academy of Pediatrics
Choking on Food
Special Report: Choking Hazards for Children