The American Academy of Pediatrics has determined that, despite the enormous number of frequently risible warning labels on everything, parents are still undereducated about the risk of choking ordinary foods pose for their small children. To address this, they have requested not only more warning labels on foods, but also that foods be altered so they are less dangerous to small children.
Advocates suggest, for example, that rounded lollipops like Tootsie Pops be eschewed, and that some foods such as hot dogs — which are also enjoyed by adults — be “redesigned” to reduce their potential harmfulness to toddlers.
And if the makers of such products will not step up, the AAP suggests, it’ll be up to the government to intervene for the children.
“Too little attention is paid by government agencies and food manufacturers to minimizing choking risks,” says the AAP statement. They seek “a commitment from food manufacturers to design new food and redesign existing food to minimize choking risk, to the extent possible.” If they don’t get this, no doubt AAP and like-minded souls will pressure the Food and Drug Administration, which is reviewing the AAP proposal.
Among the foods cited as choking risks by the AAP are grapes, which would be better for children as grape mush, and nuts, which would be more kid-friendly as bits o’ nuts, marketed in tubes that limit the amount one can take in at a time, perhaps using a timer.
Alternately all such foodstuffs can be pre-masticated, and sold in plastic pouches with no sharp edges. Or we could just live dangerously, as our ancestors did, and take responsibility for our own and our own kids’ safety. But who’s dumb enough to advocate that kind of stone age thinking?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 22, 2010