Regulation

"Cut Hot Dogs Lengthwise and Grapes in Quarters"

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danger!

The American Academy of Pediatrics is calling for the labeling of foods that kids might choke on. CNN phones in a perfect uncritical, generic scare-story-plus-call-for-regulation:

It's a silent, often overlooked danger that kills dozens of children every year, and it's easily preventable: choking to death on food.

Now the largest pediatrician group in the United States is calling for warning labels on foods that pose the highest risk for choking.

The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates at least one child in the United States dies every five days from choking on food. The academy rates choking as the leading cause of death among children 14 and younger.

The group is issuing a new policy statement calling on the government and manufacturers to implement a food labeling system warning parents of these risks.

"This is a call to action," said Dr. Gary Smith, a pediatrician and immediate past chairman of the Committee on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

don't let this tragedy happen to your kids

Also, the nation's largest pediatric care group announces that it would like to see someone invent a choke-proof hot dog. (Reason.com and Reason.tv editor Nick Gillespie asks: "Isn't that just baloney?")

Until the regulatory state can grind into action, however, the pediatricians have some tips:

• Cut hot dogs lengthwise and grapes in quarters. This changes the dangerous shape of the food, which can block throats of young children and even teenagers.

• Avoid giving toddlers other high-risk foods such as hard candy, nuts, seeds and raw carrots.

Oh yeah, America's teens are going to love it when their moms start cutting their grapes into quarters at restaurants.

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  1. The American Academy of Pediatrics is calling for the labeling of foods that kids might choke on.

    Like whole pineapples, for instance.

    1. Ach! Tell me about it! Satan shoves pineapples up mein keister every day – and Twofer Tuesdays are the worst!

    2. I hear apples are pretty bad as well, they even keep doctors away…

    3. I could have lived without that picture of Ezra Klein, with, god-only-knows all over his face. Should we call that krugulate?

      1. That’s aphotoshop. It wil be another ten or twelve years before Ezra will actually be able to grow a “beard”..

      2. That’s a public school teacher at one of the Department of Education’s new fisting workshops. She forgot to use the salad guard.

    4. If you think whole pineapples are a joke there is at least one dead cow not laughing.

  2. Why not just grind it all up into a thick paste?

    1. The goop the Nebuchadnezzar’s crew ate had all the protein, minerals and vitamins the body needed, anyway…

      1. I just got my copy of Ruhlman’s Charcuterie in the mail. I may need to put it into a brown paper wrapper…

        1. Good book. I’m far too lazy to use anything in it, but a good read nonetheless.

        2. I love my copy of Charcuterie. Haven’t gotten into the aged meats but the recipes for the fresh and smoked stuff are great.

      2. Ignorance is bliss.

        And I don’t want to remember this…

      3. Neo, this is loco

    2. They can choke on the paste.

      Hell, they can choke on water.

      1. Hey the campaign against dihydrogen monoxide is still out there, actively trying to eliminate the threat of liquid-choking (aka drowning).

        1. Di-hydrogen monoxide is sooo last year. I’m all about saving the world from the scourge of hydraulic acid now. Let’s go get some fair-trade coffee and I’ll tell you all about it.

        2. In case anybody missed the reference: here.

          1. Thanks for the shout out,

            Peter

    3. you can’t grind children into a thick paste…at least without using a little water

      1. sure you can…you just have to cut them lengthwise and then quarters. They have their own juice built in.

        1. now you tell me…

    4. Why not just grind it all up into a thick paste?

      Because you can’t get kids to eat pate.

    5. Why haven’t we moved onto the soylent green solution yet? We solve all of our problems; food is bland and choke-proof, and all of those uninsured people don’t have to worry about not having insurance anymore

  3. Cut hot dogs lengthwise and grapes in quarters. This changes the dangerous shape of the food, which can block throats of young children and even teenagers.

    American teenagers have become ever increasingly stupid through the decades, after all . . . They easily choke on grapes.

    1. If we permit teenagers who choke on grapes to die, the population of bureaucrats will decline over time.

    2. If we cut up our hot dogs and bananas how will kids learn Kevin Jenning’s new curriculum?

  4. I blame the Gerber corporation for pushing the ridiculously irresponsible notion that any child younger than 18 years (in Canada; 21 in the USA) is ready for solid food.

  5. “‘ealth and safety, mate.”

    http://washingtontimes.com/new…..ve-safety/

  6. “This is a call to action,” said Dr. Gary Smith, a pediatrician and immediate past chairman of the Committee on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

    Gary Smith wants to become a Food Commissar after he retires from Pediatrics. He is simply laying the foundation in anticipation…

  7. The endless infantalization of American rolls on…redesign the hot dog to protect children? We could pass a law where you’re not allowed to eat hot dogs until your 18th birthday. Or parents could teach their children to chew their food.

    Some of us don’t want to live in a children’s world.

    1. But… but… it’s for the children!!! *sob* Don’t you caaaaare?

      1. I’ve come to the conclusion that, rather than outlaw everything to protect the children, we should just outlaw children.

        Much simpler.

        1. Air passengers and movie goers rejoice!

    2. Even the call to redesign the hot dog reflects infantilization: calling on someone–mommy, daddy, the President, someone–to please, please redesign my meat!

      Maybe the association could spend its member’s dues actually, you know, inventing the new dawg of which they whine?

    3. Yes, our modern age appears to have lost the ancient “chewing” secret of the ancients, so food must be redesigned.

  8. Monty Python could have made a great sketch about the food police hauling some kids’ mother away because she cut their grapes into thirds instead of quarters.

    1. 64ths, anything greater is just suicidal…64ths it is.

  9. Grapes, hell. What about fish bones? Do children still eat fish with bones in it? Whenever we had fish, I would ask, “Are there bones in it?” and Mom would invariable reply, “There might be. Be careful.” Always the same answer. There might be. Thanks, Mom, for making me never trust a fish again.

    1. I got a fish bone in my throat when I was about 8 (first fish I caught and ate). Ever since I have chewed small fish very carefully.

      1. Was it a fish bone, or just a bone that smelled like fish?

      2. Do you like fishsticks?

    2. School lunches in Japan have fish with tiny bones on a daily basis. I guess it doesn’t matter when the government’s footing the bill for the tracheotomy

  10. “The academy rates choking as the leading cause of death among children 14 and younger.”

    How is that possible with a rate of one death every five days? Did they just ignore auto accidents?

    1. 14 year olds driving…why that’s just ridiculous

      1. It was me driving…

        1. Somehow I think there are some other causes of death that kill more than 73 children a year.

          1. finally someone posted the total. 73 f’n deaths a year is a crisis now?

    2. The academy rates choking as the leading cause of death among children 14 and younger.”

      And here I thought it was firearm injuries . . . You know, after reading the anti-gun rethoric precisely from the American Academy of Pediatrics. I guess they lied to me.

      1. They’re choking on BULLETS when they EAT LEAD.

      2. No, firearm deaths are the leading cause of death for children 25 and younger.

        1. Children can be aged 25?

          1. To the gun grabbing Nazis, yes.

            1. Oh, I forgot… SCHIP counts “kids” up to 23 or so…

      3. Eating grapes is more dangerous than heroin.

        1. No, you’ve got it all round. Grapes are more dangerous than fake weed. Fake weed is more dangerous than real weed, which is more dangerous than heroin, which is more dangerous than crack, which is more dangerous than heroin again, which is more dangerous than cocaine, which is more dangerous than ecstasy, which is more dangerous than cocaine, which is more dangerous than grapes, which are more dangerous than weed.

          MC Escher has designed the new drug-safety schematic.

    3. Just because X activity is the leading cause of death among Y group, it does mean that very many Ys are likely to die from it.

      Is not weaselly language fun?

      1. “does not”, damn it!

  11. This is stupid, but you guys are focusing on the wrong element.

    It actually DOES MAKE SENSE to cut up food in the manner described here for kids 5 or under.

    So the warning content isn’t really stupid.

    What’s stupid is thinking that the warning has to be made.

    Parents already know that you shouldn’t let a 2 year old have a foot-long Nathan’s hot dog. The warning label is absurd not because it infantilizes, but because it’s redundant.

    Any parent who hands a preschooler a hot dog is already doing so even though they know they shouldn’t, because they don’t think it’s “really” a risk. A warning label won’t make them take seriously a risk they’ve already considered and discounted.

    1. In which case we need to outlaw stupid parents. I can actually get behind that.

      1. Parenting licenses really are inevitable aren’t they?

      2. Better yet we need to outlaw parents. It’s obvious that because a few kids MIGHT die from choking on food not cut up properly by negligent parents, no kids are safe with their parents. It’s for the good of children everywhere to just have them become wards of the state. Adults can be put out to stud and just make babies like they’re supposed to.

        “Won’t someone think of the CHILDREN?!?!”

      3. I think natural selection will take its course on this.

    2. Parents already know that you shouldn’t let a 2 year old have a foot-long Nathan’s hot dog.

      The article says Dr. Nanny wants you to cut the dogs length-wise, strongly suggesting that it’s the time-honored tradition of cutting little Hogath’s wiener width-wise into ~1 inch “bite size” pieces that is the source of much gnashing of teeth at the Academy. But either way, it’s hogwash.

  12. People who eat hotdogs deserve to die.

    1. and so they shall Thomas and so they shall…

      1. I’m not quite dead yet…

        1. You’re not foolin’ anyone, you know.

        2. “Braaaaains…sorry, i Mean, hoooooooooot doooooooooooogs.”

    2. There are such things as good hot dogs, believe it or not.

      1. they’re called chili dogs though, not hot dogs.

  13. I refer to this as “natural selection. It’s a feature, not a bug.

    If you think that’s harsh, fuck you, you deserve to choke on a hot dog. (preferably Hebrew National – they are so good – if you’re gonna choke on a hotdog, make it a good one)

    1. Nathans
      are
      much better
      have
      higher fat content
      HebeNats are smalller too(harder to choke on)

      1. Wow, that’s just what Sarah Silverman said!

  14. I only cut grapes in half for my daughter, and we feed her whole baby carrots. Am I in error?

    1. Tick…tick…tick…

      1. Hey, don’t mess with my freaked-out parent head.

        1. The standard hotdog is just about the perfect diameter to close off the windpipe of an young child. Whole grapes and baby carrots have a similar diameter.

          Cut things into thin strips.

          1. Dangit. Okay, strips. Great. Something else to worry about.

            1. My weejun has more difficulty with the hot dog skins. Gotta love a slimy, spit-up strip of hot dog skin.

              I actually peeled my kids’ hot dogs for a month or so after that little experience.

              1. Boars Head make pretty awesome skinless hot dogs.

          2. Now I know how to choke young children and make it look like an accident. Thanks, kinnath. You and the AAP have taught me a valuable lesson today.

            1. Be sure to cut your child’s beverages into long, thin strips.

          3. Or feed them kielbasa.

          4. so we should only feed our children large diameter fruit, vegetables and meats…here kid have a canned ham

        2. Your kid is doomed, PL. Sorry. There’s nothing we can do.

          Well, except call the cops on your abusive ass, but we’ve already done that. So there’s nothing else we can do.

          [serious]Actually, I would be a bit concerned about the baby carrots. I used to let my daughter gum big carrots, but those little ones might slide right down her throat. Depends on how old your kid is.[/serious]

          1. Grumble. Fine. Slicing the carrots. What else am I doing wrong? Stupid, dangerous universe.

            1. Ha! I served my kids uncut hotdogs in a recalled crib! I gave them whole grapes while they were wearing hoodies with pull-strings in the hoods! We danced and twirled near old venetian blinds! I showed them pictures of lawn darts!

              Run, children! Run with those scissors in your hands!

              1. I was choking on un-fileted fish bones in my high chair.Had to eat fast or parents and older siblings got all the food.I was small and sickly.

              2. old venetian blinds? please to be elaborating.

                1. They have dangling cords, with which children can strangle on, or so I’m told.

                  I have no doubt that it happens, yet, my elemenary schools were filled with the the death trap blinds and nary a death was to be known.

                  1. Damn, never woulda thought it. Good thing i don’t have kids.

                    1. Well, they don’t any longer, at least not for the opening-closing part. Blinds now only have the solid twirling stick with which you can beat your siblings with about the face and neck. Good times.

                      Not sure about the cord on the up-down part.

    2. Yes. You are a worse version of Hitler.

    3. Pro liberate, I have seen a baby eat a large carrot (best for gripping) while simultaneously breast feeding. I asked the mother (a nurse) and she said that the baby will grate the carrot with her teeth and it was safe. You just should never let a baby eat alone because they can choke on anything.

      1. In all seriousness, I think it’s not paying attention to the kid or rushing him when he’s eating that’s the bigger risk.

      2. including boob…I’ve often almost choked while sucking on a boob…

        1. This happens to babies all the time, when mamma has a strong let-down reflex.

          The More You Know

  15. The group is issuing a new policy statement calling on the government and manufacturers to implement a food labeling system warning parents of these risks.

    . . . something only the Big Company producers could afford, thus placing yet ANOTHER cost on top the cost of entry for competitors and upstarts. And who said pediatricians were not capitalists [of the Crony kind]???

  16. The academy rates choking as the leading cause of death among children 14 and younger.

    WTFsrsly?

  17. Grapes for children should be crushed, fermented, and allowed to age.

  18. How about this: cut hot dogs lengthwise, then puree in blender (with bun and condiments). You might as well just dump the glass of skim milk in there, too.

    You can’t be too careful, when children are involved.

  19. Jeebus H on a Segway.

    Just run it all through a blender, helicopter parents.

    And put a big sign with a death’s head on it on any food that isn’t (a) smaller than a sunflower see or (b) already pureed: “Warning: If you bolt this like a starving wolverine, you may choke yourself, you stupid fuck. And good riddance.”

    1. That is EXACTLY what I did for my kids.

      Unfortunately, they’ve all survived to reach adulthood…

  20. The academy rates choking as the leading cause of death among children 14 and younger.

    They would sleep more soundly if the leading cause of death were meteorites or attacks by wolverines.

    1. Would you be happier if they’d been pushed out of a window?

      1. The AAP bureaucrats? Absolutely!

  21. Hey, now they’re stepping into my domain!

  22. Mmmmm….. That’s good bass!

  23. When the leading cause of death in an age group occurs this infrequently and is something basically self inflicted, that is good news. Something has to be the leading cause of death. When the leading cause is basically something people do to themselves, that seems like about the best situation you could have.

  24. I had a paramedic tell me one time that his worst cases ever were toddlers choking on melted marshmallows, from when people go camping and stuff?

    Apparently, their swallowing motion isn’t strong enough to clear it sometimes, and the melted marshmallow elongates through the trachea, which sometimes makes emergency procedures unhelpful. …he said sometimes you can’t get it out of their throat either ’cause anything you grab is just slimey.

    Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with companies voluntarily labeling their packaging for stuff like this. Actually, if I can differentiate my product as child friendly, and put a mark on it from the Academy of Pediatric whatever? I’m on top of that right away!

    People will pay extra for stuff like that!

    1. Only if you don’t mind making society even more idiotic, literally, than it already is.

      The information is out there, easily found. Buy any “mothering” related literature and they will drown you in warnings and infinite fretfulness.

  25. Don’t forget about pretzels. Those dang things’l getcha.

  26. For 2006, the number of children who died from non transport accidental cause, unspecified or other was 1379. Some portion of that was choking. Some jackass wants to impose federal regulations based on that small a number? I guess a cost benefit analysis is just beyond the pale anymore?

    1. Also, motor vehicle accidents still kill more kids, so where he’s getting his numbers from, I don’t know.

    2. According to my local news report, last year 1400 children under 14 were sent to the emergency room for food choking, while 77 of them died (that seems to line up with the once-every-five-days rate quoted in the article here).

  27. What the heck is that on that guy’s face? Leeches?

    1. That’s a chick, and those are grapes.

      1. Grape leeches.

  28. teh parenting is hard. we need gydunce.

  29. The Chemist’s War
    The little-told story of how the U.S. government poisoned alcohol during Prohibition with deadly consequences.
    http://www.slate.com/id/2245188/?GT1=38001
    From one extreme to the other.

  30. the CDC states that 263 pediatric deaths occured last flu season due to the flu. How the hell does 73 deaths due to choking top that?

    Others have mentioned the obvious auto accidents.
    Most parents are extremely protective of kids. But anytime they take them in a car or other vehicle they’re exposing them to the No. 1 killer of America’s children. Indeed, child safety advocate group Safe Kids USA reports that car accidents and other motor vehicle mishaps are the chief cause of child deaths between ages 3 and 14.

    That’s confirmed by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, which says car accidents are the top cause of deaths in kids aged 2-14. The center also says car accidents injure 250,000 American kids yearly. With about 2,000 of them suffering fatal injury, children are the victims in 5 per cent of America’s fatal traffic accidents. And unlike adults, it’s safe to say that no such child has caused the car accident in which he or she died.

    1. Turns out most of the accidents are from parents speeding their children to the hospital because the little bastards are choking on un-quartered grapes.

      Murderers

      PS “it’s safe to say that no such child has caused the car accident in which he or she died” – obviously written by someone who’s not driven a car full of screaming, arm-swinging, distracting utes.

      1. It’s the parent’s fault for not tying them down and gagging them.

  31. how stupid do they think we are? Maybe this is just a habit they developed pre-Google.

  32. “Also, the nation’s largest pediatric care group announces that it would like to see someone invent a choke-proof hot dog. ”

    I have a solution…lets stop feeding mechanically separated pig lips, dicks, ears and tails to the children of this country.

    Oh wait, that means parents would have to think about what THEY are eating, much less their progeny.

    1. “OMG, ITS TEH ICKY PARTS!!!!!”

      Grow up. Waste Not, Want Not.

      1. We can’t get imported haggis in this country because of the fucking Food Nazis.

        And here I’ve got all this chutney…

    2. If humans weren’t meant to eat hotdogs why did God make the combination of rat tail, raccoon feet, pigeon head, and boot tongue so damn delicious?

      http://www.snpp.com/episodes/3F03.html

    3. Every carbon atom in your body has been eaten, shat out, ejaculated, vomited up, and discharged as mucus millions of times since life began on Earth.

      We may ultimately be made of star-stuff. But we’ve been shit-stuff a lot more recently.

      1. mmmm tastey tastey shit stuff mmmm

  33. You idiots, they just want people to be aware that some seemingly innocuous foods kill children on a regular basis.

    1. ‘Regular basis’ is an ambiguous term; Halley’s comet passes by on a regular basis. In this case, according to the statistics quoted, it means roughly 73 food-related choking deaths per year. Of those, I am not sure which were due to seemingly innocuous foods, and which were due to overtly threatening ones.

      Do you have in mind a different number of deaths which you would deem acceptable?

      1. 42 deaths per year from pediatric choking incidents would be ideal IMO.

    2. And I think that about wraps it up folks.

    3. Oh yes, it practically hides in N-space field distortions.

      Teh Google

  34. Basic risk management folks. The probability is small, but the impact can be catestrophic. The cost of the action plan to avoid the risk is trivial. Just slice things up the size of a McD’s french fry.

  35. The only approved way to feed children is with an IV

    1. It hurts when those are inserted though, doesn’t it? And that’s clearly cruelty to children. I believe, therefore, that children have a positive right to remain in the womb indefinitely. I’m pretty sure there’s something in the UN bill of rights for children about it.

  36. the American Academy of Pediatrics can suck my dog. I didn’t need octodogs as a kid and I didn’t choke.

    1. ^the American Academy of Pediatrics can suck my dog suck my dog AND choke on it.

  37. This is a serious issue. Dr. Archibald “Moonlight” Graham had to give up the game because of a child choking on a hot dog.

  38. This is a serious issue. Don’t you remember that Dr.Archibald “Moonlight” Graham had to give up the game because of a child choking on a hot dog.

  39. This is a serious issue. Don’t you remember that Dr.Archibald “Moonlight” Graham had to give up the game because of a child choking on a hot dog.

  40. Wow, never really thought about it that way before. That is way cool. I like it.

    Jess
    http://www.anonymous-tools.se.tc

  41. Cripes people, over 100 comments and not ONE banana joke?

    1. Bananas are monkeys’ favorite food, and we don’t make monkeys around here — just trade them.

  42. I know what kills more children than grapes or candy-corn combined: Living in a culture and under a government so shitty and worshipful of its own delusional belief in the self-validations of its own assumptions that most of its mission is robbing them of the risk that fun and pleasure entail. If I were under the age of, say, 19 today, I’d fucking kill myself.

  43. This ridiculousness made it onto my local news tonight. The caption was “DOCTORS CALL FOR SAFETY LABELS ON HOT DOGS”, and every statement of these idiots was prefaced by “Doctors say …”, as in, “Doctors say that hot dogs are the perfect shape for a child to choke on.” They neglected to comment on the choke-optimality of a chewed-up hot dog’s shape, which would seem to be more relevant.

    1. why the age limit?

  44. I personally knew at least three kids who died before they reached adolescence. Freddie croaked while delivering newspapers in a snowstorm. Car hit him. Stanley bought the farm while riding his sled down a steep, blind hill into the street without a spotter. Truck ran him over. And poor Bradley, the undisputed wheelie champion, expired from leukemia. Not one had a food mishap. The end.

  45. OK, see, now this relieves me. If the leading cause of death for children is something (almost) completely preventable and very rare (1 every 5 days???), then we’re doing pretty darn good!

    There’s some research (and no, I don’t have a citation) that shows that children starting to eat food by having purees shoved down their throats actually prevents them from learning to chew/swallow on their own and ups their risks of choking. I was relieved to hear that when my son WOULD NOT let me spoon feed him and went straight to finger foods at 7 months:-)

  46. If we’re gonna be all PC about this stuff, the proper term is “at-risk”.

    At-risk foods.

  47. For perspective:

    Do Children Commit Suicide? (Christopher Beam, Slate, October 23, 2008)

    Do kids that young [7 years old] ever kill themselves?

    Yes, but rarely. About four children out of every 500,000 below the age of 12 commit suicide annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    The author’s number works out to 385, given an under-12 population of 48,138,988. CDC’s 2006 number here is not even close to that, being 26, though the reporting of their statistics tool is ambiguous; its result sheet is entitled Suicide Injury Deaths and Rates per 100,000, while it produces a table with results labeled total number of deaths. I assume the latter to be the correct interpretation.

    This malicious hot dog study is using numbers for ages 14 and younger. For this group, the CDC tool reports total number of deaths at 219, for a population of 60,652,932.

  48. Once you have people so dumbed down from not having to think for themselves it is much easier to control them… It’s not a conspiracy just a process. People are lazy and it will be easier for them to buy wiener nuggets than teaching that fat little dumbass you spawned not to choke while he’s gorging himself on food you don’t have to prepare…

  49. Unlike most here, I love my kids enough to pre-chew their food until it reaches that perfect “non-choking” mush mix, then in a Jeff Goldblum fashion, I spit it into their mouths for truly safe eating…and not one has choked yet.

    I am a good parent.

  50. I’ve got a solution-the damn Heimlich maneuver.

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