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Pediatricians Want Crackdown on Choking Hazards

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The nation’s foremost pediatricians’ group is pushing for a crackdown on a leading cause of death for young children.

Too many parents don’t see the menace lurking in a hot dog - or a grape. That’s what the Elk Grove Village-based American Academy of Pediatrics has concluded. Today the doctors are announcing a new policy position. They want companies to label foods that are dangerous choking hazards.

Dr. Gary Smith wrote the policy statement. He’s with Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

SMITH: We have many years of experience trying to prevent choking due to toys. We have laws, regulations, we have labeling, we have recalls. But those mechanisms are not in place when it comes to foods.

Smith says foods like hot dogs are perfectly shaped to block a child’s airway. He says parents should cut up foods like that into small pieces. And eventually, he says manufacturers should consider redesigning high-risk food products.

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