What you should know about children and choking hazards

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July 29, 2013, 7:41 am
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(NECN/NBC News: Erika Edwards) - A new study reveals the foods most likely to lead to dangerous choking incidents in kids.

It was an after-dinner mint that enticed 4-year-old Delaney Whipple, who snuck one while leaving a restaurant with her parents.

"I turned around and her face was red and I told my husband, ‘oh my god, I think she's choking,’" mother Melissa Whipple says.

Fortunately, they got the candy out and Delaney was okay.

The story is not uncommon.

The new study from Nationwide Children's Hospital reveals more than 12,000 children are rushed to an emergency room every year after choking on food.

"The most common type of food that children choke on is candy," says Dr. Gary Smith.

Hard candy, like the ones that caught the eye of little Delaney.

Dr. Smith co-authored the study, which looked only at cases where kids choked on food and survived.

Had the study included deadly choking incidents another food would have risen to the top of the list of riskiest foods for kids.

"If I were to pull together the leading engineers in the world and I asked them to design the perfect plug for a child's airway, it would be a hot dog," Dr. Smith says.

Hot dogs are the size and shape of the back of a child's throat.

Because they're compressible, they can wedge into the back of the throat and are very difficult to get out.

Melissa Whipple cautions other parents never to let their guard down.

"They're starting to learn right from wrong at that age. They're starting to want to test the waters a little bit," she says.

The majority of children who choke on food are under the age of 5.

Tags: choking, NBC News, Erika Edwards, choking dangers, nationwide children's hospital, dr. gary smith, delaney whipple, melissa whipple, children hazards
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