Policy

"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.