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Choking and Strangulation

Children face a broad range of risks throughout all ages and one of the most common is strangulation and choking. First of all, many children are still adjusting to how their body works and may be unaware of the risks presented by particular liquids or foods. Furthermore, people in the vicinity providing child care may not be familiar with the best way to handle a choking or strangulation incident. This can escalate quickly and can run the risk of asphyxiation.

Defining Choking Incidents

Asphyxiation includes choking, suffocation, and strangulation. All of these are serious medical conditions that can lead to death or permanent brain damage for children whose external and internal airways are blocked by foreign objects such as window blinds, blankets, coins, or food. These issues are often silent but can be deadly. Safe Kids USA illustrates that in 2009, 94% of the more than 1000 deaths affecting children with regard to choking and strangulation involved children under the age of five.

Common Causes of Choking Risks for Children

The Consumer Product Safety Commission shares that unfortunately children's toys can be a leading risk of choking and strangulation problems. One-third of all the toy related deaths across the United States that were ultimately reported to the CPSC were due to unintentional strangulation or choking. The majority of these incidents of strangulation, choking and childhood suffocation occur in the home. Regulation, recalls and product design can help to prevent death and injuries associated with asphyxiation in young children.

If an accident happens because a product was defective or because a caregiver was negligent, this can raise serious problems about how a parent should respond. If the child has suffered serious injuries because of choking, or was killed as a result of it, a parent may have legal rights.

Preventing Choking Incidents

Educating caregivers, child care providers and families on age appropriate food items and sizes as well as toys that are appropriate based on the age, scanning the environment for possible hazards and supervising children while eating and playing can also reduce the chances of a choking and strangulating injury, brain damage or even death. One of the most important things that parents and care givers can do is to make meals fun and safe. Children under five should never eat hard, round, or small foods including cheese sticks, nuts, hard candy, pieces of hot dogs, marshmallows, nuts, popcorn, and grapes. Young children must eat in a high chair at the table, not while playing or laying down. It is crucial to keep an eye on infants and babies while they are eating or playing. Furthermore, keeping any choking risks away from the child is extremely important. By seeing the world from the child's view, like getting on the floor on your hands and knees, can help you to identify and remove small items. Some of the most common items involve choking risks for small children include nails, marbles, buttons, stones, coins, jewelry, beads, pins and more. Magnets in particular are extremely dangerous for children. They are often involved in children's toys or construction sets. Any toys or games that include magnets should be inspected carefully.

Dislodged and missing magnets may indicate a choking risk. In the event that a magnet may have been swallowed by a child, it is important to identify abdominal symptoms such as vomiting, pain and nausea and diarrhea. Multiple magnetic pieces in an x-ray may appear as one object.

Another choking or strangulation risk for children are cords. All strings and cords, especially those attached to window blinds should be kept out of a child's reach. Removing all beds, furniture, toys, and cribs away from window cords and windows is extremely important. Basic window cord safety rules and retrofit kits can be identified to help you if you are not able to replace your window coverings. Keeping a careful eye towards the potential choking and strangulation risks can help to reduce serious issues.

If you believe a choking incident was caused by someone else's negligence, you may have grounds to talk to a NY personal injury attorney.

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