Young children are inherently curious about the world around them and tend to explore new items by touching and tasting. Because of this tendency, adults in charge of supervising children should keep food items that pose choking hazards well out of a child’s reach. Coins, small toys, batteries, and certain food items may put a youngster at risk.
If your child has suffered a food-choking injury due to the negligence of a supervising individual or facility, you may be entitled to damages for the needless suffering your son or daughter has endured. Call food-choking injury lawyer Jeffrey Killino at 877-875-2927 for expert assistance with this legal pursuit.
American Academy of Pediatrics
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), choking on food, coins, and toys is one of the leading causes of death among children 3 years of age or younger. In a policy statement released by the AAP in 2012, the AAP noted that one child dies every five days as a result of choking on food.
The AAP believes that the federal government has been remiss in addressing measures that should be taken to prevent food-choking incidents among children and has recommended that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) be given the authority to regulate food products with respect to choking hazards. Though the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) regulates toys and other non-food products to protect against choking injuries, the CPSC is not required to conduct such regulation with respect to food products.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has voiced similar concerns and suggested that food manufacturers be required to include warnings on labels of foods known to pose choking hazards. Some manufacturers have voluntarily included such warnings on their packaging. If others followed suit, countless lives could be saved.
Which Foods Pose the Greatest Risk?
Certain food items pose a significant threat for small children who have not yet learned to effectively chew. Foods that are crisp and crunchy, round and/or rubbery, or hard and difficult to chew may all be choking hazards. The following, in particular, should not be given to children under the age of 4:
- Hot dogs
- Peanuts (or other nuts) and seeds
- Hard candy or gum
- Gel candies
- Peanut butter chunks
- Whole grapes
- Meat, cheese, or fruit chunks
- Carrots and other raw vegetables
How Can You Reduce Your Child’s Risk of Food-Choking Accidents?
You can take precautions during mealtimes to reduce your child’s risk of choking. The following steps may greatly reduce the chances of a food-choking injury:
- Make sure your child does not talk, laugh, or move around while eating
- Always supervise a child while the child is snacking or eating meals
- Cut the child’s food into small, easily-swallowed pieces
- Make sure your child chews the food completely before swallowing
- Learn CPR in case of an emergency
Legal Liability for Food-Choking Injuries Caused by the Negligence of Others
Food-choking injuries and deaths may occur while children are under the care of someone other than their parents. Child-care facilities, for example, may be found legally responsible for food-choking injuries suffered by negligently supervised children who are under the facility’s care. When such an accident occurs, a personal-injury negligence action may be brought against both the staff of a daycare center and the facility itself.
- Negligent actions of supervisory staff
Negligence can be demonstrated on the part of staff-members, for example, who allow children to eat without supervision, who allow children to bring in food of their own that may pose a choking hazard, or who fail to cut up food into pieces not likely to cause choking.
- Inadequate staffing by daycare facilities
A day-care facility itself may be found negligent for failure to adequately staff the center with a safe supervisor-child ratio, preventing the possibility of adequate supervision of children while they are eating.
- Negligent hiring
A child-care facility may also be found liable if its negligent hiring practices led to the hiring of unqualified staff-members whose negligent supervision of children was a cause of a child’s injuries.
- Negligent training
Child-care centers that fail to adequately train their employees may also be found liable in damages for injuries suffered by children as a result of the inadequate supervision of poorly trained supervisory staff.
Food-choking injury lawyer Jeffrey Killino has extensive experience in obtaining compensation for families of children injured in food-choking accidents. For expert and caring legal assistance with your child’s injuries, contact Attorney Jeffrey Killino at 877-875-2927.