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Child Choking and Strangulation Hazards

Choking and Strangulation Injuries in Children

Each year, approximately more than 1,000 children die from airway obstruction injuries. A majority of these incidents occur in the home. While some accidents are unavoidable, caregivers can help reduce the likelihood of suffocation and strangulation injuries by following simple safety guidelines and avoiding dangerous and defective toys and faulty household products.


Statistics below provided by SafeKids USA:

  • In 2013, 1,268 children under the age of 19 died from airway obstruction injuries and suffocation.
  • Sadly, 77% of children who suffocated were under 12 months old and 60% were boys.
  • 819 children under the age of 1 died from accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed and 155 died from choking on food or foreign objects.
  • Cribs and playpens are responsible for 20% of all nursery product-related injuries among children ages 5 and under.
  • An additional 24,000 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for nonfatal suffocation or inhalation annually.
  • Button batteries are particularly dangerous because when they gets stuck in a child’s throat, saliva triggers an electrical current
    that causes a chemical reaction resulting in burns to the esophagus.


At least one child dies from choking on food every five days in the U.S., according to the New York State Department of Health. Thousands more are treated for choking cases involving gum, coins, toys, and other household objects. Common causes of choking include:

  1. Food
  2. Gum
  3. Coins
  4. Small Balls
  5. Balloons
  6. Pillows
  7. Cushions
  8. Necklaces
  9. Ribbons
  10. Batteries
  11. Small Toys or Parts of Toys
  12. Peanuts and Almonds
  13. Tough Meat
  14. Small Fruits and Vegetables (i.e. Grapes and Cherry Tomatoes)
  15. Candy

Strangulation, which can result in serious injury, brain damage, and death, can occur within minutes. Strangulation incidents can be caused by drawstrings, ribbons, and cords, and by entrapment in pieces of future, playground equipment, or strollers.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has implemented strict rules regarding drawstrings, blinds, and other strangulation and entrapment hazards in order to protect children from needless accidents. Common strangulation hazards include:

  • Cut food for toddlers into tiny pieces.
  • Remember to have young kids eat in a high chair or at the table, not while lying down or playing.
  • Consider your child’s age when purchasing a toy or game.
  • Check toys for small parts or other potential choking hazards.
  • See the world from a child’s perspective. Get on the floor on your hands and knees so that you are at your child’s eye level. Look for and remove small items.
  • Keep small objects such as buttons, beads, jewelry, pins, nails, marbles, coins, stones, and tacks out of reach and sight.
  • Keep small magnets away from children. These include magnets found in construction sets, kid’s games, children’s toys, or stress-relieving adult desk toys; refrigerator magnets; and rare-earth magnets such as Buckyballs.
  • Fill out product registration information on all toys so that you can be informed of product recalls.
  • Keep cords and strings, including those attached to window blinds, out of your child’s reach.
  • Move all cribs, beds, furniture, and toys away from windows and window cords.
  • Remove necklaces, purses, scarves, helmets, or clothing with drawstrings when children are playing or sleeping.
  • Don’t tie strings or ribbons to a pacifier or toy.
  • Remove bibs before bedtime or nap time.
  • Sign up for recall alerts on


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