In 2001, 864 children ages 14 and under died from unintentional airway obstruction
injuries including choking, suffocation, strangulation and entrapment. Of these
children, nearly 90 percent were ages four and under.
2001, 169 children ages 14 and under died from choking (food and nonfood items).
The majority of childhood choking injuries and deaths are associated with food
items; however, non-food items, such as coins, small balls and balloons are also
hazards for young children. Since 1973, more than 110 children have died from
Since 1985, 22 children have died from entangled children's clothing drawstrings,
most often the hood/neck drawstrings. More than half of drawstring entanglement
incidents involved playground slides.
Canadian Statistics: Between 1997 and 1998, 49 children have died as
a result of choking, suffocation, and strangulation incidents, and an additional
27 have been hospitalized.
Choking occurs when food or small objects block the airway. This prevents oxygen
from getting to the lungs and the brain. Young children are at risk from choking
on small, round foods such as hot dogs, candies, nuts, grapes, marshmallows and
Children should avoid wearing drawstrings or necklaces on the playground. Clothing,
scarves, mittens, jacket strings and jacket hoods can get caught in narrow gaps,
openings or holes on slides, vertical posts, and on open connecting links such
as "S" hooks.
Dinner Time Message
Let your children know that eating is serious business. Create fun placemats with
them that contain key choking prevention messages. You can also inexpensively
laminate them at a local printing shop. This is a great way to remind your children
- only put food in their mouths
- take small bites
- chew food thoroughly
- not run or play while eating
Inspect your children's toys and identify choking hazards. You can test for choking
hazards by seeing if toys fit through an empty toilet paper roll. If they do,
they're too small to be played with safely. Children can decorate their "no-choke
tester" with pictures, stickers or their names. Toys with choking hazards should
be kept away from babies, toddlers and young children.
Data Sources: Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI),
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Health Canada, National SAFE
KIDS Campaign®, Safe Kids Canada.