I am a EMT in Michigan, and I have sadly seen this too many times ["Kids and Killer Hot Dogs? 3 Tips to Prevent Choking on Food," usnews.com]. Ninety percent of these choking deaths didn't need to happen and would not have if only the parents had simply paid attention to what their children were doing. Children under the age of 3 should not be given a hot dog to eat unless you're there watching him or her; it's that simple. At the age of 1 your child's throat is the size of a pencil or smaller. Take the time to take a CPR class. They don't cost that much and most people that just figure, "Oh, I have seen it on TV. I know what I am doing," do more damage then help. If you just don't have the money, contact your local health department or go to any city fire department and ask one of their paramedics to show you. And please remember that if you're in a different room you're not going to hear your child choke. A person that has a full airway blockage won't make any sounds at all. They will just try to cough but won't be able to. In closing, please, if you take anything from this remember these three words—watch your kids. I shouldn't have to eat a hot dog that has been remodeled because you're too lazy to watch your kid.
Comment by John of MI
How ridiculous. Food is meant to be chewed and swallowed. No amount of re-engineering is going to keep people from choking on food: adults or infants. Warning labels are so pervasive that no one pays attention to them anymore. We cannot regulate to make a totally risk-free environment. If everyone is so adverse to risk, no one should ever drive a car, with or without children in it. I just choked on a sip of wine yesterday, should the bottle contain a warning label that wine should never be "swallowed the wrong way."
Comment by Laurice of MD
Why is it unrealistic to expect parents to cut the hotdog lengthwise in half before putting it in a bun, or serve it sliced into coins? I didn't let my kids under 5 eat whole hot dogs or raw baby carrots unless they were cut up. And it was not a hardship at all. There are plenty of other kid-friendly foods (that are also way healthier) that aren't choking hazards. And I doubt they ever felt deprived. Why is it considered reasonable to tell people not to let their babies play with marbles, but it is apparently outrageous to ask they cut up food or simply not give kids under 5 certain types of food?
Comment by Sami J. of NH
The three points in this article to prevent choking are helpful. I think the overall message that one can take away from these suggestions is parental responsibility. Parents should know what their kids can and can't consume depending on their age and parents should always be watching their young children—especially when they are eating. While I think having to put a warning label on hot dogs is ridiculous, if it will really save even one life then, what the heck?
Comment by Jenny of CT